This morning the cloud had started to roll in and a cool NE wind had picked up, making for a very different feel from yesterday, however, the birding was much more interesting :-)
My early walk around Migrant Alley turned up another WHEATEAR, this one a female, also out on the sheep pasture there were 8 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS with 7 HERRING GULLS, plus a BLACK HEADED GULL flew over, all species that will be hard to find in a couple of weeks. The good fortune continued shortly after, when I watched a RED KITE (69) fly south over the Greenhouse Copse as I was admiring at the LITTLE OWL that roosts there, my 4th record of Red Kite already this year!
After checking on the KESTRELS at the Greenhouse Grounds, I decided on a visit to the lakes and Scrubby Woods rather than hang about Migrant Alley, on the way a BUZZARD flew low over the Ashes Lane Fields, and a SPARROWHAWK whizzed past me into the Wet Woods, four raptors for the day ;-)
I am still hoping to add Cuckoo to the year list, they used to breed in the scrubby Woods, normally I would have heard one by now, but it looks like i'll only be recording them as a passage bird if at all this year :-( My spirits were quickly lifted however, when I had a scan around the main lake, first a MANDARIN DUCK was seen, a splendid male, then a pair of TUFTED DUCKS swam out of the tree overhang, a rare enough visitor here, but even rarer was a POCHARD (83,70) that swam with them, a cracking male bird, its not very often I get 4 different Duck species on the same day! The last Pochard I recorded on my patch was back in March 2011, so its a welcome addition indeed to this years patch list and takes the months list to the 70 mark. A GREY HERON sat and preened on an old dead tree at the small lake, while the ornamental lake was home to the MUTE SWAN pair a few MALLARDS and a MOORHEN or two.
Tufted Duck pair, they were distant, in not good light, but it's good to get a record shot of them as they are so infrequent on my patch!
Superb looking male Pochard with the female Tufty
This is about the best shot I got of it, just wish it was a bit closer, in better light ;-)
A quick splash and washing session
After a quick preen, he had a brief altercation with the male Tufty, then all three birds flew off, a very pleasing find indeed :-)