Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Fen Drayton RSPB - 30.3.14

Baikal Teal.
On Thursday I joked to my son that if news from his parents evening was bad I'd punish him by dragging him out birding all weekend! Luckily for him his work had improved and so he'd escaped. But then as we were in town on Saturday shopping in Boots the mega alert went off! Due to plans to visit the cinema with my brother the twitch had to be delayed. Sunday morning and news was positive that the bird in question was still present so I dragged my boy along anyway! A short trip into neighbouring Cambridgeshire saw us arrive on site in just over an hour. As we drove up the entrance track 2 Red-Legged Partridge were in the fields to the right and then straight onto the year list. I parked up with a couple of other cars just before the very weird guided busway. Basically it's 2 concrete tracks running through the middle of the reserve that normal single and double decker buses run on! A nice 1 mile walk eventually found us on the track down to Moore Lake at the far west end of the reserve. A couple of Cetti's Warblers burst into song along the way as were a few Chiffchaff. Eventually we came across a few other birders and from the hide I got onto my first ever BAIKAL TEAL. It was a stunning pristine drake fully winged and un-ringed keeping mainly to itself but loosely associating with a few Teal and Wigeon. I got Tom onto it and he replied yeah I got it and its very nice! (I'll make a birder out of him one day!). We watched swim from left to right picking off flies from the surface of the water. Once we'd had our fill of this bird I had a quick scan of the islands and picked out the head and upper body of an Avocet which was a nice year tick. On the walk back to the car I had a quick scan over another of the lakes as the day before it had held Scaup, Garganey and Smew. Apart from a Scaup and a few Goldeneye I didn't have time to have a good look for the other species. There have now been 4 accepted records of Baikal Teal so as long as this bird keeps looking wary, not eating bread thrown at it and flies off soon it has a good chance of being number 5.

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