Sunday, 5 February 2017

American Wigeon at Kingsmill Lake

Friday 3rd February and my plans for a days birding went right out of the window due to stormy weather - wind and rain galore! There was a brief respite from the rain around lunchtime so I had a walk around Plymouth Hoe to see if anything had been blown in by the gales but I could only find an adult gannet circling around The Cattewater and an adult Mediterranean gull developing a black hood amongst the usual black headed gulls, herring gulls, great black backed gulls and a few common gulls.

The morning of Saturday 4th February was a complete contrast - sunny and still - and things started well with a peregrine seen preening on the roof of the Civic Centre as I waited on Royal Parade for the bus to Saltash. As we drove over the Tamar Bridge my heart sank a little as the River Tamar was shrouded in mist but it quickly began to clear as I walked to the bird hide at the China Fleet Club. I could hear wigeon whistling in the mist as I entered the hide and as I scanned across the creek in the lifting mist I quickly found the male American wigeon first found on Christmas Day last year - distant but good scope views before it disappeared in a creek to feed with wigeon and with only the occassional head view above the vegetation.

American Wigeon (male) with Wigeon

It was high tide and at one point a lot of the roosting birds were spooked by something and  took to the air and shortly after the birds resettled I found the American wigeon on its own on the water, a bit nearer than previously but still a little distant. Again it disappeared amongst the waterside vegetation to preen before I lost sight of it again and that was the last I saw of it.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

Other birds seen from the hide included 2 great crested grebes, around 100 avocet, 2 greenshank, an adult lesser black backed gull, around 20 snipe, redshank, curlew, lapwing, around 200 dunlin, black tailed godwit, shelduck and teal.

Beautiful views when the mist cleared

Beautiful Reflection

In the woods amongst the coal, blue, great and long tailed tits was a goldcrest and overhead a raven cronked noisely, and on the golf course lake a pair of tufted duck were with Canada geese, moorhens and mallards along with a very pale buzzard perched on a waterside sign.

Pale Buzzard

Not a bad couple of hours birding before the clouds rolled in and the heavy rain (and hail) returned.

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