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!

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