Sunday, 28 August 2011

Knowing the Scau(p)

Well I thought I did, but two new arrivals at Gayhurst Quarry this morning had me a bit puzzled today.
Two ducks on Spinney Pit on first look were showing a very large white blaize around their beaks and my initial thought was 'they could be Scaup, But it's still August so it's a bit early.',
 A bit more scrutiny. Largish Heads, Black on Bill restricted to the Nail area and no obvious Tuft on the back of the Head - all good for Scaup. Unfortunately another good feature the pale crescent behind the ear was not really present, so I'm still not 100% sure. I've asked a few people for their opinion, but as yet I've not heard back, so watch this space. I think at the very least they will turn out to be Scaup/Tufted Duck Hybrids.

Elsewhere around the pits, Ducks were not plentiful, if you ignore the annual released juvenile Mallards (probably about 500 of these), with half a dozen Tufted Ducks, 4 Teal and a single drake Gadwall.
Waders consisted of 3 Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, 50 or so Lapwings and the family party of 4 Oystercatchers which were foraging in amongst the Cattle.
 A Little Grebe was new in and several Great-crested remain including a couple of juveniles, while one pair continue to incubate on Fishing Pit - everytime I visit this nest seems to have drifted further around the Pit.
 There seemed to be a few migrant smaller birds around today, with lots of Warblers, mainly Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, but also a Lesser Whitethroat and a single Spotted Flycatcher in amongst them.

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