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4 September 2014
3-4thSeptember: Ducking into the park
With Dan back at School it means the time for ducks. We discussed it briefly when I saw him on Wednesday when I gave him a short list of wants. Ten minutes later and he reports a juvenile male Red-crested Pochard, nearly a year on from the last one he found on Heronry. Ruined my itinerary and even made Mr Lethbridge navigate his way to the park for about the second time this year. It didn't come to bread, didn't stay too long and pretended to dive a few times. Wild as they come.
More interestingly Common Pochard numbers were on the up: Dan counted 40 +, I managed 50 + and today (Thursday) Dan topped 60 and with five on the Alex, I reckon it could be a record. Early Autumn flocks usually are better than Winter counts, with more birds returning to their central and eastern European breeding grounds if its mild.
Having knocked me off my routine of Long Wood, coffee, Alex, Long Wood, SSSI, Long Wood home, I did a quick ramble round the old sewage works (2 egrets, Kingfisher and a couple of Common Whitethroat) and then back to the flats via the forbidden triangle. Things were looking a bit dire, but a couple or three spotties, all that was in Long Wood, saved the day from being a complete non-event.
Thursday duck report was a Wigeon, again on Heronry, and somehow I managed to dip it, but rather than go back the long way round I headed back to Long Wood and over to the Alex. A couple of Whinchats and first winter male Redstart, and a circling Tree Pipit confirmed it as the right choice. Three more Whinchats south of Long Wood, but no flycatchers anywhere, giving probably a par score.