Wednesday 26 December 2012

Christmas Wishes

Well I hope all my blog readers (if there's any left!?) had a great Christmas. I had an amazing one in our new home.  Sad that it is mostly over now - would you believe I am back to work today!!

I had some lovely Christmas presents (many house-related ones!). The birding gods gave me an early present too...

It was pretty much the first time I'd been birding in the valley for about a month  - seriously it's been THAT bad.  And these two Bewick's Swans were opposite Axmouth Football club near Boshill Cross.  These are the third and fourth Bewick's that I've seen on patch - we had (different) singles overwintering with the wintering Mute Swans 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.  So I wonder if these are going to stay for the winter?  Which brings me on to...

I have decided, seeing as I didn't year list this year, that if the (or one of the) Bewick's Swans remain until Jan 1st (and I see them!), then I will be doing a local patch year list in 2013. So, I've left it for the 'birding Gods' to decide...

Monday 17 December 2012

A Cornish Surprise

Not many updates on here of late, again - but I haven't seen anything!  I have tried my best to get Waxwing on my patch list, I've gone out whenever I've had the chance. Many hours of searching though haven't produced the goods. Yet... (I hope!).

So why this update - well today I have seen something of note, although it wasn't on patch.

This is my third month of bird surveying and monitoring at a site on the Tamar Estuary (the Cornwall side), and on the way back from my survey site there's a wonderful looking area called St John's Creek, which always screams RARE at me.  There's always Teal here, last month I saw well over a hundred, and I always make an effort to go through them. Today it was quite easy, because there were only about 25 of them. c24 Eurasion Teal. And....

Just what I wanted!!

I couldn't believe it!  A bloody Green-winged Teal!  Yes it would have been a lot sweeter had it been on the Axe (hopefully this will happen), but I was still thrilled with this find!  

At first I was slightly concerned about an apparent buffish tinge to the edge of the green head stripe going up from the bill, but when the light got a bit better this disappeared and the difference between the Green-winged's head and the Eurasion's head was actually quite obvious.  

All the photos of it are rubbish (I just had the Lumix super-zoom with me), and none as rubbish as what I am about to post. It does though just about show the difference in head pattern between the yank and two common cousins...

Note the golden line around the green eye flash, or not when it comes to the vertical-striped fella :-)

I got the news out as quick as possible (god love twitter), and hope others get to see it.  The Teal can be bloody elusive here though, as there are lots of deep channels, I reckon on a falling or rising tide would be best.

Hopefully this has fired me up to find something rare on patch...