Friday, 7 February 2014

Half A Yank

After a couple of weeks enjoying the dazzling sights of stork-billed kingfishers, Brahminy kites and crimson-backed sunbirds in southern India I returned to the patch last weekend to find things, well, much as I'd left them.
Freeman's Pools were still hosting the usual selection of wildfowl; goldeneye, gadwall, wigeon, teal etc.
The ongoing wet weather had ensured that the flooded cycle path was even more flooded while the Wildfowlers' Pools had expanded somewhat to cover most of the fields. The Flood itself was certainly adhering to its name.
Despite this excess of water, there are still comparatively few birds really using these temporary 'lakes'. In past years when water levels have been high we have seen notable influxes of wildfowl and waders but the continued mild and damp weather just doesn't seem to be moving birds around.
A few pink-footed geese are still kicking around the Aldcliffe area with around 650 grazing in the fields between the track and the drumlins. Yesterday (Thursday) at least 1,000 more were up and down on the other side of the Lune - in the Heysham bypass area.
The big news from yesterday however concerned a bird discovered floating along the river at Stodday. Aldcliffe regular Dan had found a curious anas duck which he identified as a hybrid American/Eurasian wigeon.

Eurasian & American wigeon - Victoria BC
I've been optimistically scanning through the Lune wigeon flocks for years hoping to locate a vagrant yank wigeon but this at least comes close! I'll be keeping my eye out for this dodgy looking individual, and who knows, maybe one of its parents is close by?
This completely mirrors my activities in Canada where I would regularly spend hours sifting through American wigeon flocks in search of their Eurasian congeners...