Sunday, February 24, 2008

Popped to Pitsford

The whole weekend proved to be overcast and grey and on Saturday we had to stay at home waiting for the boiler engineer to come and restore our heating and hot water! I spent the day digging (an inspection pit and a border for this years sunflowers). The only chance to pop out therefore was Sunday morning. So I popped to Pitsford for an hour and specifically to Holcot bay on the nature reserve and the hide there. Even though it was overcast, breezy and cold, a number of the birds were behaving as if Spring is just around the corner. These Goldeneye were pair bonding and did some neck stretching (seen here), some flying, and their speciality, pulling the head right back onto the body with the beak open:

It wont be long before they're off to their breeding grounds. Also in the mood was this Coot, seen here starting to build a nest:

And this Song Thrush, really letting rip:

Another indicator is how much less tolerant birds become of other birds, this Goosander drake was hustling the Coot:

As I'd hoped the drake Scaup was in the bay:

If you enlarge the picture below, you can see the differences between the Tufted Duck (far right) drake and the Scaup drake (as well as a female Pochard):

The lack of a tuft and the grey back are the big differences, also in good light or seen closer, the Scaup has a dark green head. This Scaup spent time swimming with the Tufted Ducks males, I wonder if there will be hybrid ducks (like the one in this post: Garden Birds and other sightings...: Norfolk - the bird club trip that wasn't... day 2) at Pitsford by summer?

Finally the Great-crested Grebes look at their very best right now, in fresh breeding plumage:

Hopefully next week some spare time and some sunshine?

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