It has been quite some time now that I decided that New Year resolutions were a waste of time, for me at least, but this year I have relented and thought it would be a good idea as I build this year’s list to really look at the birds. So, be they common, scarce or mega I have given myself the task of trying to see something new or previously unappreciated (by me) in each species. Or just seeing what it is that makes a bird ‘x’ and not ‘y’.
So with this in mind I set off for a lunchtime walk around the reservoirs, actually the West Warwick to try to find the Scaup, recently found by Pete and then Paul..
As so often happens with Aythya ducks, they’re quite often asleep, seemingly more so than any other genus. Unhelpfully today, the easily identifiable males were the ones on the move and the dowdy females the ones asleep. My target today wasn’t a smart male Scaup but a far more subtle female. On the way around the reservoir, I picked out several female Aythya with lots of white on the face but their head shape and little tuft at the back of the head gave them away as Tufties. I got to the corner where it had been seen and again most of the females were asleep. A quick scan with the bins found me a female with a much more rounded head and no tuft, no matter that her bill was tucked into her body with no white face markings visible, her head shape was the i.d clincher.
There is no doubt that knowing the bird was around made my task easier. Hopefully however, with better observation in the future finding my own one would be less difficult.
My walk back to the car was uneventful, just a female Reed Bunting until I reached the bridge near the toilet block and for the second day running managed to disturb that jewelled sprite the Kingfisher. Beautiful end to my walk, and successfully seeing a Scaup.
Dan B 17 01 2011