Saturday, 5 March 2011

Back to normal

After yesterday's excitement, the patch resumed usual operations today, for Ian and I at least. Steve had two Waxwings go over the farmhouse about ten minutes before we arrived (and I now learn that a flock of twelve were showing yesterday morning at the end of Reads Rest Lane). Bird of the day was a Meadow Pipit that circled, wanting to land, but was reluctant. Surprisingly (or not, given the weather at some points), they haven't wintered at the patch this time round and we've only recently been getting a trickle of migrant birds moving through.

I then called dad and he took me to Connaught Water, to see the drake Green-winged Teal that was reported there. The bird was easy to find but I became concerned with the identification even more quickly. I have limited experience of Green-winged Teal, having only seen one bird before, but, in my humble opinion, this bird is a hybrid. I could well be wrong and would love to be proved so as it would be a nice London tick but I have my reasons. First of all, upon first glance the bird appears good, with the vertical line at the side of the breast and the lack of a horizonal line of the scaps but upon closer inspection it is noticeable how weak the breast line really is. Only about twenty percent of it is solid white, and this is broken up. The rest of the mark is very faint and looks more like paler feathering than a mark. Also, when the bird stretched and flapped its wings, a significant proportion of the edge of its greater coverts were white, it did not have the strong and extensive rusty/orangey colouration of a Green-winged Teal. I did not get a chance to observe the amount of green on the speculum. There were also two drake and one female Mandarin and a couple of Egyptian Geese. Have a look at my record shots and please tell me I'm wrong.

I've been missing a lot of good patch birds at Canons lately, I guess this is good as it means more people are going there and finding stuff. I need to start getting earlier buses.