Sunday, 9 February 2014

Green-Winged Teal - Willington Access

The Green-winged Teal was present again Sunday 9th February however access remains an issue but the site can be accessed with care.

The Willington LNR site and access track to the viewing platforms are flooded but with wellies and a little care you can get to all platforms.  The track is predominantly flooded from the DWT vehicle post to P1 and a little bit beyond.  After P2 the track is OK with little bits of standing water but nothing too bad.

Parking - at the moment I have been parking in the new Willington surgery car park and continuing on foot through the quarry and on towards the DWT information post / fishing club gates.  From the vehicle post down the lane it is quite deep and will come within mm of the tops of wellies.  I would advise waterproof over trousers over wellies as this may give a little bit more grace.  The water is particularly deep by the gate used to access the cattle / grazing grassland (just before P1) but again with care is passable.

From P1 to P2 it is flooded but fine in wellies and from P2 to the bottom of the track at P4 the path is fine with little in the way of standing water and what is there is only a couple of inches deep.

All the duck on site are very flighty and easily spooked but the GW Teal was again on site.  Today the drake was associating with Eurasian Teal at the back (north) of the lake in the reed / water margins and fairly elusive but views were good on and off to pick him up and confirm ID.

There are also plenty of Shoveler on the lake as well as 3 Pintail (2 males and 1 female) and a single Shelduck.

The GW Teal was seen by two people today.  Good luck to anybody that gives it a go.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Patch Gold and a Lifer to Boot

Decided to go for my now normal Saturday walk to Willington GPs which I have chosen for my 2014 (and beyond) Patchwork Challenge Patch.  Standard routine, dropped off by Mrs G who then goes on to take Master G to his Riding for the Disabled and then I get picked up after a couple of glorious hours stomping around.  Willington is always prone to flood and the last couple of visits have been more a paddle than a walk but today was more a wade.  Lots of water and at points thoughts did cross my mind (more than once) that it would be make more sense to turn around and just go for a stroll along the canal.  

Dogs in tow who were more than happy and made ideal depth gauges so I daftly carried on to the viewing platforms - and boy am I happy that I did.

On arrival at the first platform quick scan revealed few Tufties, couple of coot and I could hear Eurasian Teal calling from the reed / water edge of the lake. 

Scanned through these and sure enough found Eurasian Teal loafing in the reeds but after finding ten or so birds the next one in line jumped out as being distinctly different in fact diagnostically different.  Instead of a nice white horizontal line in the scapulars there was none and this was coupled with a very large, prominent and obvious vertical white stripe on the flank / breast.  Stonker - drake Green-winged Teal.  A new bird for me (a lifer).  I continued to watch for a minute of so, frantically making notes and then went for the scope.  All birds flushed / spooked and off they went.... bugger.

Carried on with the walk to the bottom platforms checking on P2 and P3 on the way to P4 but alas no further sightings.
View From P2 
The Trudge to P4!

Arrived P4 and found some Pintail (3 birds 2 male and 1 female), lots of Eurasian Teal and Wigeon plus Lapwing and the odd goose.  Scope out again and started to scan through a large flock of Eurasian Teal at the back of the lake and bingo picked out the Green-winger!  

Scope on, notes made and 100% sure of ID.  Stunning find, great moment and some nice points for the Patchwork Challenge (6 in fact, 3 for the bird and a bonus of 3 for self-found!).  Proper result, although chickens (or in fact GW Teals) not being counted until the DoS rarity committee accept the rarity report which has already been submitted.  Fingers very crossed!

Thanks must go to my faithful depth gauges without whom I would have turned round and headed off somewhere else.

Blind stupidity of wading through a very flooded access track paid off.  For once it paid off ignoring  discretion being the better part of valor!