15 December, 2019

Getting Back Out 2. Nice Weather For Ducks?

So, despite still not being anything like right [though better than I was] I wanted to get outside. The objective being chasing tweety birds, getting some reasonably gentle exercise, and definitely not seawatching.

Ho hum.

The discovery of 'very showy' Beardies at RVP was a temptation not to be missed, so I tried that one. I ended up ambling up and down the Exe Canal while trying and sometimes succeeding in avoiding getting absolutely tipped on by assorted Great Big Gribbly Squalls that were muntering about the place..

Not ideal, perhaps, but still slightly better for the health than sitting in said weather for a few hours in hope of a Little Auk, I suppose.

I don't know about showing amazingly - after all I've seen no photos, and if they were performing that well surely there would be some, these days?? - but there were a couple of Beardies knocking about the reeds from the first screen [or what's left of it], though they were hardly showing well. In the brief glorious patches of sun I got two views and one burst of calling, in getting on for two hours.

They're out there...

Somewhere under the rainbow.. [Ahem] The illuminated Willow, yup? Front and left of that are some brambles, yes?
In front and left of those is a patch of dead ground. Beardies went in there. Little gits.

EDIT: These were seen again at the same place a couple of weeks later, so perhaps they're sticking around? Or - more likely? - using these much more sheltered reeds when the weather's nasty [and it has been very blowy this Autumn/Winter].

If the Bearded Tits won't behave, maybe something else will. Keep looking at ducks and eventually you'll find a good one, right?


Ok, only a Gadwall, and out of focus, but we keep at it.

This is on the somewhat hidden pool at the sewage works;

Convenient and easy to watch.
Sort of.

There were quite a few assorted wildfowl there, hiding out and out of view [ok, occasionally in view]. I spent too long trying to get counts;
Teal 48,  Mallard 26,  Gadwall 14,  Wigeon 4.
Plus Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen.

Couple of Chiffchaff in the trees.

Zoom in a bit..

Dabbling away

I suppose duckweed has some uses

Further on, the Sludge Beds had another Chiffchaff and a very nasty squall [those walkways are murder without chickenwire..!]. I found shelter and looked over the Retreat as the sun came out again;

A hint of the Levels

More than a hint!

Marshie came over and caused some havoc; ducks and gulls all over the place! :)

Not a sharp photo, but look at the contrast in the remiges;
a juvenile would show a uniform underwing and an immature a
messy one [due to moulting out juv. feathers], so this is an adult female*

Eventually, I wandered back up and took a 'slight' detour on my way home, as a Bittern had been seen at Bowling Green the day before. I figured with dusk being the best time to see a Bittern, I'd try my luck. The tide being high helped my decision, too.

Sluice still blocked

Long-billed Dowitcher
Showing well with Redshank and Shovellers

Lovely. :)

Scaup, showing less well

Spot the Snipe


No Bittern. I wasn't surprised - it showed once, briefly, the day before, after all! - but it was still worth the try.

Be Seeing You...

[[*You may recall the Marshie that flew over my home earlier this year? The photo I got was awful, but you could see the paler undersides of the primaries in that, too. Just about.]]

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