Canons Farm and Frensham Great Pond, 27th November 2016
Doing the rounds at the farm resulted in a couple of surprises, namely a Chiffchaff on the edge of the horse paddock by Pages Acre and a fly-over Grey Wagtail. A Lesser Redpoll seen in the treetops in Pages Acre also goes in my logbook as a noteworthy sighting as they remain frustratingly thin on the ground locally this autumn. I was disappointed that the Forster's Tern had not reappeared in Kent, but news from Frensham Great Pond had Paul S and I heading over there in the afternoon to track down a Surrey lifer. We teamed up with Paul M and John B to scan the main section of the lake, initially finding nothing more curious than the outdoor swimmers, but we soon locked onto a strange, superficially black-and-white form floating near the far shore. It was no rare duck, but had it been on the sea I would have had no hesitation in calling it a (ex-)Guillemot and after staring at it for 10 minutes or so I could see no reason to doubt this identification, however bizarre it seemed; it did not seem the right size nor shape for a Razorbill and was not quite black enough on the upperparts. An adult drake hybrid Aythyawas snoozing among 62 Pochards but once it became clear that our quarry was not in this part of the lake, we moved towards the Frensham Pond Hotel, which the last report referred to, where Paul quickly locked onto the juvenile Long-tailed Duck. A frequent diver and remaining under the surface for perhaps 45 seconds on each dive, it did not allow prolonged viewing or convenient photography but was an entertaining bird. Eventually, it flew off towards the main section of the lake with four Tufted Ducks.