Saturday, 24 November 2012

Legs bend; legs stretch

Cresswell Pond hide was busy this afternoon. As I drove by, a bus party (evidently from Leeds) was busily walking back and forth from the hide and down the road. At first, I wondered if there was something very unusual around, however, the lack of cars near the pond suggested otherwise.

I continued up to Widdrington, to see what the fields held. About 500 Pink Feet were feeding in the fields behind the farm at Hemscott Hill, chuntering quietly to each other. They remained feeding peacefully for the two and a half hours that I was in the vicinity. The poor, misty visibility and distance made searching for anything resembling a Bean Goose too much of a challenge for my ancient scope.

There were large numbers of Lapwings feeding in the fields along the roadside and also several flocks of Starlings.

By the time I had returned to the pond, the visiting party was departing, so I headed for the hide.

The conversation in the hide was very entertaining. "It's coming out of the ree... oh! it's going back". "It's behind the Common Snipe". "It's just behind that tuft of reeds". "Which tuft?". "The Teal's backside is over its head". And so the scrum at the eastern end of the hide to catch a glimpse of the Jack Snipe continued. Eventually I think everyone saw it. I waited until the scrum had had it's fill and left and then had very good views of both Jack and Common Snipe, in the open and both bobbing, albeit the Common Snipe's efforts were more of a weak Sandpiperish tail wag.

There was a very smart drake Long Tailed Duck feeding and then preening; showing off how it gets its name. On the spit, there was a very large flock of Golden Plovers along with Lapwings and a few Redshanks.

This is probably my only visit without a Gadwall in sight. There were lots of Teal, a few Tufties and singles of female Merganser and Goldeneye. I searched the reeds for a glimpse of a Bittern, but no luck and no recent reports on the board either. I could only find a single Little Grebe, in contrast to the Grebe fest at my last visit.

Golden Plovers are a jittery bunch. Every time they flew, we all searched the sky for a raptor, but to no avail.

A Stonechat watched my departure. Following the hammering that they seemed to take two winters ago, it has been encouraging to see them around this year.

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