Friday, 10 September 2010

A Red-Necker Day!

Red-Necked Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Little Grebe
Naughty Black Swans
Red Admiral
Sloe Berries
Today didn't start well, when we discovered that a section of the planned venue was closed to pedestrians, plus there was a howling wind blowing off the Humber estuary. We switched to North Cave Wetlands. It was less windy there, but non too pleasant. However, we started to go round the reserve, which was a little dispiriting at first, as the view from the first hide was swamped by Grey Lag Geese. From the Turrett hide we saw several Snipe, which always seem to delight the classes, plus Lapwing, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, and most of the usual suspects. As the rain looked as though it had finished for the time being we decided we could manage a circuit of the reserve. The walk round was uneventful, and the reserve recorder going the other way round the reserve mentioned a Kingfisher he'd seen 10 minutes earlier, but otherwise didn't seem enthused by recent sightings at the reserve. However, less than 5 minutes after leaving him I spotted an unusual-looking Grebe fairly close to the shore. It was nearly as large as a Great Crested Grebe, but had a stouter, shorter neck, a very dark cap, a white cheek patch & some yellow around the beak. I realised immediately it was a Red-Necked Grebe. I called the ID to the recorder, who at first seemed reluctant to rise from his bench. We managed to relocate the bird, and it was indeed a Red-Necked Grebe. It turned out to be the first ever recorded at the reserve, and the last of the UK Grebe species to put in appearance at North Cave Wetlands. it had 2 black diagonal lines near the eye, which indicated it was a juvenile, but still had an impressive red neck. We managed some good views of the bird, and a kind chap allowed the class to look at it through his telescope. Our spirits significantly lifted, we continued round the reserve. The Red-Necked Grebe relocated to the main lake in the afternoon, where we enjoyed even better views, including seeing it in flight. Other birds seen included: a Ringed Plover, a Wigeon, a hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose, but very few waders. One of the other highlights in the afternoon was a very active Stoat, which made bizarre zig-zag movements ahead of us on the path.

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