Sunday, January 11, 2009

notably colder

36 degrees colder than last Sunday in fact. From +33c to -3.5c in a week, though frankly going from 12 hours to 8 hours light a day has proven much tougher to deal with. We were keen as mustard to get out birding locally over the weekend and believed the forecast on Friday of clear skies and a crisp day! We headed out around dawn under leaden skies and freezing fog. It's so much drier back in England, all of the moisture in air has been frozen out:















We were planning on following up regular sightings of both Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes and then doing the nature reserve loop, however on arrival it was apparent that the north side was almost completely frozen over so we decided on a south side loop instead.

One of the first unusual sightings was a group of four Smew, including three drakes and a lone female, a pair are shown here:













The next unusual sight, is this duck which looks to my inexpert eye as a female Tufted x Scaup hybrid:














Unusually for Pitsford south side, we also encountered waders, including these Dunlin:













The odd Redshank:
















and finally was we headed back to the car park, we did indeed see the Slavonian Grebe, though by now the weather, having looked promising mid-morning, was closing back in and the temperature dropping - time to head home for a cuppa!








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