Yes, it has been a while since I posted. I had an accident back in the beginning of September which prevented me getting about, driving and carrying my equipment. As I write I’m much better and this blog is the start of more to come.
Aqualate Mere a Natural England site has always been a favourite place of mine, beautiful scenery, great pike fishing and plenty of birds. I thought it was a good place to get me started again being fairly accessible from the car park.
The pheasant was the first bird of the day standing in front of the bird hide.
This is a female Great Spotted Woodpecker easily sexed because of the lack of red nape patch on the neck.
Willow tits are very similar in appearance to Marsh tits and often difficult to identify in the field. Two things in this picture tell me it is a Willow tit. The first is the non glossy appearance of the feathers and secondly the black bib is longer than that of a March tit.
Reed Bunting at this time of the year can be difficult to age and sex
This bunting is definitely a male by the appearance of the black on the head and bib also the white band around the neck. As to its age which is more difficult to identify without the bird being in the hand I suspect it is a juvenile a bird from this year.
Tuftie or Scaup? I wasn’t sure what I had photographed. The white across the bill is classic markings of a female Scaup but occasionally a female Tufted Duck shows extensive white like the Scaup.
The second clue from my research is the beak on a Tufted duck is the appearance of some bill patterns which are not evident on this bird which might therefore suggest it could be a Scaup.
Finally the head of a Tuftie is unevenly rounded with a high forhead. The Scaup has a more complete rounded head.
I have asked a few friends what they thought the bird was and one said it was probably a Tuftie but another friend said that Tufties and Scaup have been known to interbreed. It is possible therefore that this bird is cross between the two.. What do you think?
Not a great days birding but it was nice to get out again for a few hours. A couple of reasonable good picture makes it all worthwhile. I think I need to make a trolley to carry my gear to use where footpaths are good.