Thursday, 18 April 2013

One Ring to Rule Them All

Ring-Necked Duck [centre] (c) 2013 James Spencer
On Wednesday we should have been walking along a remote canal, but the weather was for a damp morning and quite a strong wind, so we went to a major reserve instead. The morning started well with a Great Spotted Woodpecker near the car park. Many people saw their first Swallows of the year, and we were soon able to add Sand Martins. A Reed Bunting was singing near a strand of reeds and on the way back there was also a Sedge Warbler singing here. 
Record shot of Ring-Necked Duck - as we saw it

On the return journey a Woodcock flew up between the trees, but it wasn't a good nough view for Bruce to count it as a species he has seen.

In the morning we saw more than 50 species, and there were a couple of new ones in the afternoon.  
Pied Wagtail
 Pied Wagtail (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart
 Little Grebe
 Cormorant (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart
 Willow Warbler
 Record Shot of Grey Partridge
 Record Shot of Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart

Both groups had a lifer. The morning group heard an explosive sound next to a hide, which then gave close, but brief views as it both perched in a bush and then flew directly under the hide. It was a rich dark brown, and more than anything it resembled a large Wren. The 2 people who had seen one before had never seen one in Yorkshire before, so in a way it was a first for them too. The afternoon crowd in contrast saw a Ring-necked Duck. This was a lifer for every single participant, but not for the one morning person who stayed behind who'd already seen a the morning first. It's going to take a lot to find a bird Eric hasn't already seen. We just need to find a Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker - and soon!
You may see a much better photo of a Ringed-Necked Duck on James Spencer's blog here:
In the afternoon we visited a different area and saw a Blackcap, followed by a look-alike, according to one participant - a Willow Tit. We encountered a few Willow Warblers, and at the furthest point we saw a Little Egret, and a pair of Grey Partridges. On the return journey a Chiffchaff was looking for insects in a sapling right next to the class at the same time as we were being serenaded by another Blackcap.
Although the weather could have meant we had a pretty miserable day we had both quantity and quality, and a morning participant who didn't stay behind to see the Ring-necked Duck thought it was the best outing for some time!

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