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The trouble with quackers...

Posted by on January 20, 2010 8:52 PM | 

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Nipped down to the Marine Lake with Ralph Jones at lunchtime to look for the female Red Crested Pochard.
Only thing was, as soon as we walked down to the bank at the north end, it came looking for us - like an Exocet, flying straight up the lake to splash down a few feet away, it further disgraced itself by failing the "bread test" , or rather "gravel test", as Ralph chucked a few pieces into the water and immediately it steamed in to jostle at our feet with the Mute Swans, Mallards and Coots looking for food.
Lots of wild birds come to food of course, although perhaps not quite so readily.

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A shiny ring further increased my doubts as to provenance, but I subsequently learned that the bird was ringed here on the Marine Lake (Pete Fearon, Kane Brides, come on down...), so that doesn't really count against it.
Fully winged certainly, which is in its favour.

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A bonny bird but, at the risk of upsetting those obsessed with Merseyside, and even Sefton lists, you can never be really sure about Red Crests in the north west.
Phil Smith's comment (see previous entry), says it all, although I don't think Hardy would have mentioned "duck zoos", he would have muttered darkly about "Janet Kear's duck brothel" (his own private name for Martin Mere) and stalked off.
A bird best left to personal conscience I think!
Far better, if not so confiding, was the Bittern up at Marshside, which was moving slowly through the bleached grasses and reeds on Crossens Outer when we called by. Too far off for a digi-scoping critter like me to get a good shot.

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But just superb to finally catch up with one on the marsh.
Clarko had been lucky enough to watch it for an hour at dawn, when it caught a frog and showed very well.
Merlin, Kestrel and among the Pinkies, one of the Barnacle Geese - Marshside is certainly on form at the moment.
Earlier at Formby Point, a Common Scoter pitched down on the sand about 50 feet from me as I was working, having come in on tired, whistling wings.
It looked pretty peaky, but when one of the foraging Carrion Crows edged in, presumably hoping for a bumper breakfast opportunity, it took flight again and headed out into the shallows.

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Nuthatch calling around Lifeboat Road was a nice way to end the day.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...

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Day-flying Barn Owl on the Hightown Bends at 2pm today.

Red Crested Pochard still at north end of Southport Marine Lake at 1pm today.

No fewer than 208 Tufted Duck on the Sands Lake at Ainsdale this afternoon - and a single Snow Bunting at the southern end of Ainsdale beach, just before the first metal barrier.

Female Red-crested Pochard also turned up at Frodsham over last weekend and several others turned up elsewhere across UK - so perhaps it's wilder than you might think.

Dutch population birds possibly, perambulating from the polders, like Great White Egrets do in winter.

Mistle Thush and Song Thrush belting out song today, but our back garden Blackbirds are scarce to non-existent at the moment.

Bittern back at Marshside today in same place.

The female Red Crested Pochard was still present today on Southport Marine Lake c16:15.

Little Egret fishing in the ditch that runs under Southbank Rd/Town Lane, Friday am

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