Sunday, 2 December 2012

Ring-necked Duck, Eyebrook Reservoir

With Brian staying in London overnight after watching the demolition of the Kiwi's at Twickenham, he's unavailable for today's trip.
Dad takes up the driving duties and it's a 6am start and 100 miles ahead of us.
We arrive at Eyebrook Reservoir in Leicestershire around 8am, having taken a slight detour on route. We find ourselves on the Island side of the reservoir instead of the Plantation side.
Having seen the duck reported yesterday from the plantation side we continue the drive round heading for the small car park. 
Plantation footpath
Fieldfares and Redwings were present in large numbers, and they fly up from the hedgerows as the car approaches them.
Reaching the car park and after negotiating the gate, we are heading off along the plantation footpath. Along the footpath there are large gaps in the trees that allow good scanning opportunities to scan the reservoir.
We stop and scan every flock of duck on the water without any luck, although there are impressive numbers of Goldeneyes present.
We meet a local guy who informs us that he's had good views of the duck earlier in the week but has not seen it so far today. Not what we wanted to hear but we stay upbeat.
We continue on and start to see more and more flocks of Tufted Ducks, stopping and scanning every duck that's viewable we still can't pick out the target bird.
Ring-necked Duck

Dad decides to walk on while I scan the latest flock of ducks in front of me. I pick up a female Goosander drifting along at the back of a flock of Tufties, then as I continue to scan the target bird pops up in the scope.

Quickly calling dad back it's not long before he's on the bird and then it's time to relax and enjoy the bird.
Having now found the bird it's easy to see the differences in the Ring-necked and the Tufted's, Large peaked head, striking white band round the bill, the narrow white line around the base of the bill and the mainly pale grey flank panels.
By the time we left I was picking the bird out best by the obvious white patch at the front of the grey flank panel.
Heading back towards the car, we stop to let the other birders scanning the water where to look for the bird.
They head off happy that the bird is still present and that they have a good starting point now to locate the bird. We are well pleased having bagged the bird and got great views.

From here we make a brief stop at Brigstock Country park, (recently changed it's name to Fermyn Woods Country Park) in search of Hawfinch.
The warden informs us that a birder had reported brief views of a single bird earlier in the day.
We draw a blank on the Hawfinch front, but five Red Kites and a single Common Buzzard are a very nice consolation.
Redwings and Fieldfares are again abundant here. Maybe an earlier visit with less people and dogs might well produce a Hawfinch sighting.
Might well be worth another check when up in this part of the country.