At lunchtime today I decided to nip over to Watermead CP South for a quick look. The only real objective was to assure Great Crested Grebe for the city yearlist - achieved within a couple of minutes of arriving after negotiating the obligatory arseholes emptying carrier bags full of bread.
I got talking to a bloke called Chris (sorry - don't know surname) - a fellow FZ45 user. He confirmed that the Ruff had been knocking about before the bread-dumping shenanighans but it was absent during my brief stop. Whilst talking I noticed a Pintail of all things milling about with the tame Mallards and Tufties and we both starting firing off a few shots. Aside from the completely out-of-character behaviour, I thought that something was not quite right with the bird but I couldn't put my finger on it. A later review of the shots appeared to show nothing obviously wrong, and having shared one with the Llama he suggested that it may well be a first-winter. Looking at other shots, this seems to be borne out by very clear scalloping to the breast, pale flecks in the head and the tail looks a tad short which is the main thing that looked a bit odd. I also thought that the white nape streak wasn't quite right - maybe due to some brownish feathering within it. Smart bird either way - especially a close range.
Lots of gulls knocking about, though nothing exciting noted during brief scans. Also relatively few ducks about - and amazingly still some ice evident on the northern lake.