Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pied-billed Grebe and some other stuff...

Last weekend myself and the former Uptonite Tim Jones headed across the pennines. This was a perrilous journey, largely because Id forgotten I had the opticians so we were later than expected and then I missed the M62 as Tim regaled tales of Fair Isle. We arrived at Hollingworth Lake at bout 3ish and realised we had a heck of a walk to get the bird. I started to worry about the light and we hot-footed it round the eastern side of the reservoir. As we did this we lookeed for the birders who were miles away.

Bally to you lot is all I can say as the Pied-billed Grebe came to greet us, swimming into the bank a mere 10 feet from where we stood. To say the views were stunning would be to undermine the views. The eye ring was nicely on view, and a surprisingly long-tail. The bird didn't look like a big Little Grebe at all with a very different, less compact jizz and a rocking of its neck whilst it was surfaced. It almost outdid itself however when it bought a biggish perch to the surface and subsequently took 5 minutes swallowing it. It got there but im sure belly-ache ensued as it gave up feeding and drifted off across the lake at which point we drifted back to the car.

That completed my UK grebes and was a nice grip back from the '99 birds. Takes me onto 316 UK (although that could well become 317 with the Collared fly being supported by genetic evidence).

Last week I did a bit of survey work on the saltmarshes of the outer Humber. Standard waders with clouds of Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and the like, highlights came in the shape of a male Hen Harrier getting the hurry up from a Peregrine that was resting on the flood bank. Thankfully Hen Harriers are still regular in this location and this is the second male I have seen here this year. A bit more raptor interest was provided by a Kestrel hunting for voles and a few Sparrowhawks making forlorn forays onto the mudflats in search of a takeaway. No Twite, Snobs or Laps today.

Lastly my Rough-legged Buzzard surfaced again at Great Kelk - halfway between the original sighting location and my house...garden tick coming??

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive