Thursday, 3 November 2016

Patch Pochard

It was nice to see the first frost of the autumn this morning, the windscreen needed a good scrape first thing. And this unprecedented scene on the Borrow Pit (Seaton Marshes) not long after 9am complimented the weather conditions perfectly...

Patch gold!

As I've said before on this blog, any diving duck here is notable. Tufted Duck are annual on patch with 1-5 records a year. Pochard however has gone from being almost as regular as Tufties to a real patch rarity, and we have no idea why as the habitat hasn't changed (probably actually got better!).  The last Pochard here was three years ago, when I had a female flying around over the Estuary on 31st October 2013. Before that you've got to go back another two years for the previous record.

Drake Pochard (left), drake Tufted Duck (right).

Prior to this excitement the day was already a good one as I had seen a gorgeous Firecrest at Lower Bruckland Ponds. Although this site is an excellent one for warblers all year, and good for Goldcrests too, this was amazingly my first record of Firecrest here.  Firecrest numbers have been increasing annually on the south coast for quite a few years now, but this autumn has been a really poor one. This was my first of the autumn, and I don't think anyone else has seen one on patch.

The only thing I need to mention about yesterday was the first wave of Wood Pigeon passage, the clear skies and chill in the air meant it was almost inevitable. From where I was (Beer Head) I didn't see any flocks bigger than 600 birds, with most being of 100-300, so it wasn't a massive passage but good to see nonetheless.  I also had singles of Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer west, but surprisingly little else.

Let's hope the prediction from the Met Office of a cold winter comes good. The Waxwings continue to arrive on the east coast with a load more reported today, so all we need now is a nice bit of snow and ice to ensure they venture down here.

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