29 January 2006

Two good days!

Saturday was quite a fun day in the end! If you can call standing out in freezing conditions, for 8 hours, fun! It was the second day of our big sales weekend at work, we'd had a “preview day” on Friday and, after I had helped clear all the frost and ice from the cars on show, I took up my place as “meeter and greeter” on the entrance gate.

Just about everyone arriving on site took very well to having their details logged as they arrived - name, address etc - with only one vehicle driving through our “check point” without stopping! Try as I might I just could not make myself wide enough to block his path! Still, at least the driver did steer around me and not drive over me! By the close of business last night, 25 orders had been confirmed so if today has been as busy then the event should be a success.

So, onto today. I had decided that I would have a second attempt at getting to see both the Red-necked Grebe and the two Black-necked Grebes at Carsington Water that I had missed last weekend due to the fog. The alarm was set for 6:45am and, after ignoring it for a short while, I was up and out of the house by 7:40am. As the grebes had been around for some while, I decided to head for Cromford first in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Hawfinches that can sometimes be found there.

After being at Cromford for only a matter of seconds I had 12 Hawfinch located! What a cracking start to the day! I’ve seen these birds on a number of occasions but never in such numbers and never showing so well. They sat in the treetops for around half an hour before moving off in smaller groups. With another “year tick” in the bag, I headed for Carsington Water.

The Black-necked Grebes proved that not all birds are so easy to find - I had to walk almost 150 yards from the car to find them! This was going a little too well. Most of the reports over the past few days had been of the Black-necks being in the Hopton Arm section of the reservoir and sure enough, that’s where I found them. Even though they were still in winter plumage these two little birds looked stunning in the bright winter sunshine. After watching the grebes and a number of other wild fowl for a short time, I moved onto the Sheepwash car park.

My next target was the Red-necked Grebe. This was the one I knew would be a challenge and that’s just what it turned out to be. I checked all the open water, in sections, between the car park and the sailing club with no luck. I then spent some time scanning the more sheltered area around Stone Island, again with no joy.

Two views of Stone Island

Time was now getting on and I decided to head back for some lunch. On the walk back to the car, around two miles, I did manage to see two Little Owls, 44 Barnacle Geese (feral breeders), around 200 Pink-footed Geese (in flight) and a few Goldeneye, all new birds for the year.

As I had to pass by the Lane End hide again I decided to have another quick look for the Red-necked Grebe from there, as the light was now better - no direct sun on the water. After a quick look around with my ‘scope I had found my final target of the day! Again, it was another winter plumage bird but that didn’t really matter to me, it was another Derbyshire tick!

On the drive home, I also added Common Buzzard to my growing county list for the year. In the end, I finished up with 17 year ticks today giving me a Derbyshire total of 70 species for 2006.

1 comment:

  1. Hey sweetie :)
    Nice update. What's the story with Stone Island? The stones look weird but not old...