10th September. Expect the Unexpected

With unsuitable winds, high water levels and a general feeling of apathy, birding of late has been tough going. The latter being a major contributor to the recent lack of posts. The will to write has been there, in fact during these slow spells of birding I've come up with many post ideas complete with cheesy titles and humorous* content. The problem is that once I sit at the computer it all vanishes and the moment passes.
*my dad always says only crap comedians laugh at their own jokes

This mornings pre-work patch visit was one of these virtual blog post ramblings - kind of like talking to yourself but without saying the words aloud.  I'd decided that as the sun wasn't shining I'd take the anti-clockwise route and take in the new spillway. I thought to myself "that's where they'll be a Pec or a Buff-breast, but more likely a Pec."  My mind then started to wander, making up post titles such as Pec's Appeal and show us your Pec's - both of which are making me cringe as I write this.  I didn't find a Pec or any other wader for that matter, a familiar story for over a week now.

One thing that has been noteworthy is the continuing increase in ducks.  On Saturday I counted 175 Tufted Ducks, a site record and a notable count anywhere in the Sheffield area.  Having a scope gave me a good opportunity to have a good look through them. There's been a few 'scaup-faced' tufties of late but that's all they were. I didn't visit Sunday due to other arrangements i.e. doing a car boot sale (is there any sane reason why they start at 5:30am?) and some urgent pointing around the upstairs windows.

So three paragraphs later and I'll get to the point of this post.

After scanning the western edge of the lake then the edges of the small lake and noting no waders I started to scan through the ducks. A few more Pochard had arrived, since the Saturday visit, and as I scanned through them a tufted type, but with an obvious clear white band on it's bill after the nail, hit me between the eyes. Shit, Ring-necked Duck? Only having binoculars it was difficult to appreciate it and I erred on the cautious side not convinced that the bill or the head shape were 100%. For Gods sake it was only a Ring-necked Duck not something tricky like a female Lesser Scaup. To be frank I've  never seen an eclipse Ring-necked Duck nor a female for that matter (not that that's relevant). Luckily I did have the camera and rattled off a few record shots. Having to leave for the bus didn't help matters nor did the duck going to sleep. On the bus I had the chance to review the photos and by the time I was halfway to Sheffield I was happy that my initial gut feeling was right. It would have been a different story if I'd had the scope and photos never give you that 'in the flesh' feel, but I usually find that if you stick with your gut feeling you'll seldom go wrong..

Easy now, zoomed up and sat at home in front of the PC

But in reality this is what it looked like through just bin's

I needed one more species to equal last year self found patch list, I have a list of things I expect to find but this wasn't on it. A birding friend said last week that I should expect the unexpected. Perhaps I should disregard the list, from now anything goes!


PMella said...

Great find! Nice one.

PMella said...

Great find! Nice one.