04 April 2008

Patience is needed for number 85...

The ride into work this morning was once again somewhat lacking in birds; a couple of Chiffchaff, a single Great Crested Grebe, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a few Blackbirds singing their heads off were the only things that stood out.

Work was very quiet, for a change, and the day was really starting to drag when, out of the blue, I received a text message... “two Garganey at Willington!” Now, I couldn’t get away from work soon enough. By 5:15PM I was on my bike and heading for home, quarter of an hour earlier than I should have been!

At 6:00PM I was at Willington and hurrying down the lane towards the viewing platforms. For once there was no time to take note of the birds in the lane, I needed to be at the far end of the reserve!

For almost two hours I, along with five other birders, scanned the pits with telescope and binoculars without finding anything. As the sun went down it started to look like we were out of luck, the Garganey were nowhere to be found.

Some of the birds we did locate included 21 Goosander (my best ever count for Willington), 9 Shelduck, 6 Goldeneye and 2 Oystercatcher. A single Curlew dropped in on one of the pits for a short while and a Green Sandpiper flew over. In the distance, over 100 Sand Martin were noted in flight.

At 7:55PM, after moving around to a different part of the reserve, our luck changed. We had the Garganey in sight. At first the view wasn’t too good; we were looking through some reeds and the birds were still a little distant. A slow, and very quiet, move a little further along the path and we had the views we wanted, a pair of Garganey out in the middle of the water.

It had taken longer than I had hoped, and the light was fading fast, but I had species number 85 on my tick list, I was happy!

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