3 November 2008

Ideas anyone?

A quick trip to Napton Reservoir and Ufton Fields on Sunday turned up something exciting and new - sadly I've no idea what!

Although the weather had warmed a little after our recent cold snap, it was still bitterly cold at Napton - to be fair, it pretty much always is. It attracts wind like nowhere else I know.

However, the first thing I saw when I arrived was enough to take my mind off the cold - three extremely unusual ducks. I didn't recognise them, I've checked all of my books since, and I still have no idea what they were. Escapees I'm sure, but escaped what? Any ideas anyone - Ruddy Shelducks with black rather than red heads is my best description (sorry about the quality of the photo, I only had a compact camera with me). Red body, beige rump, black tail, black head, white face with a black eye.

Elsewhere on the water was a good collection of winter birds - 20+ Wigeon, perhaps 30 Tufted Ducks, a couple of Great Crested and Little Grebes, 75+ Coots and the usual crowd of Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls scattered about. I was also pleased to see my first big flocks of Fieldfare this year, and good numbers of Redwing flying over.

Ufton, by way of contrast, was deathly quiet. A couple of Green Woodpeckers, a few tits, and... that's all folks!

Bird of the day: Wigeon (Anus penelope), a striking (mainly) winter duck with striking colours and a distinctive wee-oo call.


Pete said...

vaguely like a Harlequin Duck (the bit of white by the beak) but that has lots of white on the wings.

Richard Mays said...

Cape Shelduck - up to three have been at draycote for a couple of days

Hornet said...

Aha, thanks Richard - just found some pictures, and that's exactly what they were. I knew they weren't exactly a local breed - I guess these were the same three birds then, two female and one male.