Tuesday, 23 September 2008

23 SEPTEMBER 2008 - FERRUGINOUS DUCK arrives with 11 Pochard


An increasing NE wind pushing down thick cloud, with the odd heavy shower. Temperatures still holding up.


(1323-1404 hours)

After receiving a text mega from Tim Watts shortly after 1230 hours, I made my way from Little Chalfont to Calvert Lake. Tim had just discovered a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK whilst chaperoning his wider family around the BBOWT reserve. I rendezvoued with Mike & Rose Collard in Great Missenden and at 1323, arrived on site.

The drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was consorting with 11 newly-arrived Northern Pochards at the north end of the BBOWT Lake, just behind the left hand raft, and was affording excellent 'scope views from the Crispin Fisher Hide. It was a cracking adult drake, emerging from its summer moult, with deep ferruginous-brown/cinnamon-brown head, black-toned upperparts, paler brown sides and flanks and heavily contrasting and gleaming white undertail-coverts. The head shape was typically domed or peak-crowned, with a striking pearly-white eye and a black tip to the bill. It was smaller than the accompanying Pochards and was rather small-bodied, with a long bill and neck, and a distinctly high forehead and peaked crown.

For most of the time it was resting, but was never seen to close its eyes. It remained alert throughout and each time the northerly wind pushed it south of the rafts, it would 'wake up' and swim quickly north to rejoin the Pochard flock.

A hybrid was ruled out on the fact that the black on the bill was restricted to the nail and did not continue around on to the flanges of the bill. There was also no hint of any green in the head, nor any imperfections in the gleaming white of the undertail-coverts. Furthermore, the eye was pure pearly-white, with no dark influence.

During the hour that Mike, Rose and I were present in the hide, we were joined by Steve Norman, Ted & Evelyn Reed, Tony Pozanski, Adam Hartley and Andrew Harding, whilst Simon Nichols and others connected later in the afternoon. It represented only the TENTH RECORD for the county, following a long-staying drake present at Newton Longville from 24 February to 12 April 1974 (and again from 5-26 October 1974), a drake at Eythrope on 15 February 1976, a drake of suspect origin on the River Colne at Iver on 2 February 1979 and a female at Little Marlow GP on 3-4 December 1989.
More recently, a female was on College Lake on 3-4 & 19 November and 9 December 1995, a drake on Little Marlow GP on 19 & 26 October 1996, a drake almost daily from 22 February to 2 March 1997, a drake at Calvert on 23 December 1997 and a drake on Little Marlow GP on 30-31 January 1999.
Adam managed to obtain the three images above
A single LITTLE EGRET was also present, feeding on the cut-reed area in front of the hide

No comments: