Saturday, 13 April 2013

Lesser Scaup at Siblyback Lake - Close Up Views At Last!

With grey and very cold weather the only signs of Spring on a walk at Lopwell Dam near Plymouth on April 4th were a cowslip flowering amongst some primroses and plenty of daffodils including some that looked good for wild daffodils.

Wild Daffodils?

Bird wise a male red breasted merganser, 2 greenshank, 2 black tailed godwits and around 20 teal were feeding along the river while a marsh tit was heard calling in the woodland.

Sunday 7th April and a very cold and grey walk at Wembury was pretty quiet due to the biting cold wind. Best birds were 5 very forlorn and hungry looking chiffchaffs feeding on the seaweed masses along the beach with a pair of stonechats. An unusual sighting were 11 male and 3 female blackbirds feeding together on the beach with rock pipits and a pied wagtail. The only other birds of note were a pair of cirl buntings. The cafe is currently closed too, the lease holders have not renewed the lease from The National Trust, so there was no pasty and coffee at the end of the walk to help warm me up.

 Male Cirl Bunting
Male Cirl Bunting

Friday 12th April and a sunny but breezy day made a nice change and it was much milder too. A trip out to Siblyback Lake near Liskeard in Cornwall was a first for me, the Lake is very picturesque and very easy to walk around with a small bird hide tucked away in a quiet arm of the Lake away from the watersports. My target bird was easily found, the male Lesser Scaup that has been moving around the area over the winter, presumably the same bird that has been seen every winter for the past couple of years. I saw it back in January on Dozmary Pool and dipped it in February when it had moved to Siblyback from Colliford Lake but today it showed ridiculously close to the shore of the Lake busily diving with a small group of male and female tufted ducks. The purple sheen to its head and the peak at the back of the head were very noticeable and it gave the best views I have ever had of the bird since I first saw it in 2010.

 Male Lesser Scaup with female Tufted Duck
 Male Lesser Scaup with Tufted Ducks
Male Lesser Scaup with a pair of Tufted Duck

The other target bird of the day was a red necked grebe that has been frequenting the Lake and I eventually found it on the opposite side of the Lake (typical!) busily diving for food with a great crested grebe. It was too distant to see the yellow base to the bill but in certain angles the neck did appear to have a russet colour as it moults in to summer plumage. It is only the 4th red necked grebe I have seen so I was very pleased to catch up with it.

Spring was certainly in the air with my first swallows of the year flying over the water and along the shore sides with a few sand martins. A common sandpiper was disturbed from the waters edge and a willow warbler sang quiet, brief snatches of song in a small patch of hawthorns but I couldn't catch a glimpse of it. So all in all not a bad day and hopefully the start of Spring proper, maybe I can get the moth box out in the back yard soon!

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