An early finish allowed a post-work blast down to the patch, where I bumped into Steve W. who joined me for a bit of a root about. Soon after we also met Jenny & Jeff Butcher who were similarly on a wild goose chase.
The 4 European white-fronted geese were again with the greylag flock on Aldcliffe Marsh opposite Snatchems plus 100 or so 'new-in' pinkfeet. Further pinkfeet were wheeling around, with numerous birds seen dropping out of sight toward Oxcliffe.
When the whitefronts are head-down feeding amongst the greylags they can be pretty inconspicuous. The 2 adults are of course relatively easy to spot if their heads are up, even at distance. The 2 juvs can be trickier, though one has something a blaze developing while the other appears to have none. When feeding out in the open, the adults' dark belly markings are obvious, again the young birds lack these and can be harder to pick out. Their small size and distinctive head shape can be a giveaway even at range, and indeed this was what alerted me to their presence yesterday - worth bearing in mind when trying to locate them in the low winter sunlight!
Thanks to Jeff Butcher for the above pic .
What appeared to be a ruff flew over from the direction of the Flood toward the tip but too brief a view didn't allow absolute confirmation. Really can't imagine what else it could have been...
Freeman's Pools: All the usual suspects, fem scaup (now starting to resemble an adult) plus 5 shoveler, 3 wigeon, 3 goldeneye, 2 little grebe etc. A small flock of meadow pipit were nearby.
Frog Pond: 60ish wigeon again present. A sparrowhawk was cruising the hedges here.
Wildfowlers' Pools: Quietish, just a few teal and 3 snipe visible. And a brown hare.
6 snipe by the temporary pool in the field over the road from the Flood.
3 bullfinch along the cycle track were only notable passerines.
The Freeman's Wood tawny owl was in its usual roost.