Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

TTV, Yankee Duck and Useless Twats

Headed out earlyish this morning into what promised to be a clear, bright and cold day. At least that was the conditions I set out in , and drove out of Leicestershire in. By the time I was in Rutland it was distinctly greyer. Consequently no photos today - it was either too dull, stuff too far or I couldn't be arsed ..

I had a TTV to do around the middle (literally) of Rutland Water. Barely no land in this tetrad, aside from the tip of Hambleton Peninsular, the tip of Whitwell creek and part of the southern shoreline around Normanton. I anticipated that the diversity might not be what you'd expect for RW - and I was right. With no houses and only a small spinney in the tetrad, passerines were always going to be limited. There are a few fields and hedgerows though.

I carefully sifted through the wildfowl and picked up reasonable numbers of Tufted Ducks (106), Great Crested Grebes (58) and Gadwall (36) on the water in the immediate vicinity of the Peninsular. Far greater numbers of Canada Geese (479) and Wigeon (564) grazing on various bits of grass. But otherwise it was surprisingly limited - eg only 1 Pochard, 31 Mallard, 14 Goldeneye and a couple of Goosander. Even more surprising was the complete lack of Coot, and the shorelines were free of Moorhens, Teal, Grey Herons and Little Egrets - only 2 Redshank, a Lapwing and a Dunlin were on show. In fact, by far the most interesting thing on the water was a lone female Ruddy Duck. Otherwise, 3 Skylarks, 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Jays, 1 Bullfinch and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker were the highlights with 45 species in total.

Before I left the Peninsular, I encountered a couple who upon seeing my scope and bins enquired if there was anything interesting about. I assured them that it was all usual stuff - nothing exciting. They then excitedly told me about a large group of Quails in a field that they'd seen on the way over. Oh dear - I suddenly remembered where I was.

As I drove back down through Hambleton I could see where all the rest of the expected wildfowl was - absolute masses of Coots, Tufteds, Pochards, Mute Swans etc all massed up in the north arm. Two tetrads east, one north.

Time was getting on a bit, and I had intended to head over to Loughborough to gawp at Waxwings, but I decided to drop into the Lyndon reserve first and have a look at the drake American Wigeon. Best laid plans - in all I spent a good two hours at Lyndon and scuppered any chance of getting over to Loughborough today.

First I headed to the Deep Water Hide on the west of the reserve to search. Initially, this was in blissful solitude. There were plenty of ducks on the water, but nothing on the shore. Sanning though I picked up a female Scaup, 3 drake + 1 female Red-crested Pochard, 4 redhead + 1 spanking drake Smew, and 7 redhead + 2 drake Goosander. No sign of the yankee though.

I was joined by others. On them immediately enquiring about the Wigeon, I let them know that I hadn't seen it, didn't know if it was about, and then reeled off what was there. "Not sure I know what a female Scaup looks like" was one response. 'Fucking hell, here we go' I thought. Sure enough, their assistance in looking for the Wigeon was frankly unnecessary. One of them tried to string redhead Smew as drake Ruddy Duck, and couldn't see the Scaup even when I eventually talked him directly onto the bird. When a huge group of feral Greylags dropped in, the same geezer proceed to call two Barnacle amongst them (1 Barnacle, 1 CanadaxGreylag Monstrosity). He then speculated on the parentage of two mainly white geese.

I'd had enough and left the hide. After watching a few Tree Sparrows on the feeders, I fully intended to head home but fortuitously bumped into the newly arrived Bretts in the car park who had a pager update - showing from east of Swan Hide on the east of the reserve. In for a penny, I trudged off with them for another go.

Eventually, the American Wigeon showed itself. Smart bird too - or at least a smart as an American Wigeon can be. It was constantly busy dabbling/feeding amongst a big group of Wigeon and Gadwall on the water - not sure what they were onto but they were like a mass of seabirds around a ball of sardines. Another 3 redhead Smew and 2 possibly 3 more female Scaup in the same area. Good stuff. As I left, the aforementioned group from the hide passed - they'd been in Swan Hide and couldn't see the bird ....

I headed into the now empty Swan Hide and though the viewing was constrained by a big bushy obstruction I immediately picked up the bird again for further views in better light. On leaving, I bumped into John 'media whore' Hague along the track where he'd been watching from - we had independently drawn the same conclusions about the same people as he also commented about what a load of useless fucking morons there seemed to be in the vicinity and had left Swan Hide before they drove him mental.

Before finally heading home, I headed over to Eyebrook for a quick look but it was still quite frozen so I gave it nothing but a cursory glance. Two Red Kites soaring over the fields by Holyoaks Farm were a nice end to the day.


The Leicester Llama said...

No, no, Mark, they're 'inexperienced beginners' - they have every right to display zero self awareness and massive overconfidence in their non-existent birding abilities in hides, and you're not allowed to insult them or people will leave nasty comments telling you what a bad person you are and going on and on about the 'hostility' 'newbies' have to put up with from 'superiors', etc, et-fucking-c.

No, you're right, they're useless fucking morons.

Ghost of Stringer said...

Hang on just a minute, this all sounds like elitist talk to me !!

Well, apparently that’s what it is...... I was accused of being elitist once for having a rant on my old blog about some feckin clueless nobheads turning up on my local patch to twitch a bird that I had....

A - bothered to get out of bed and find in the first place

B - then reported to the various bird news services, like every conscientious birder should of course !

Yep, It’s in the birdwatchers code of conduct you know...... “If you find a bird that is anything less than extremely common, it is then your duty to report it immediately to RBA/birdguides and the like, in order that masses of dickheads with zero knowledge, verbal diarrhoea, way too many pointless gadgets, and nothing better to do, can come down and ruin your day”...... or something to that effect.....

If having a negative opinion of people like this makes me a member of the “elitist birder club”, then you’d better sign me up right away !!

PS - Notice how I refrained from using the word “apprenticeship” just then !

Skev said...

Hmm yes - I can see that my post could be construed as me being an intolerant elitist with a superiority complex. As anyone who knows me well will surely attest, I am perhaps the most tolerant and approachable bloke you could ever wish to meet ....... cue silence ......... and tumble-weed ..........

So - to be clear - I have absoloutely no issues with meeting anyone in the field, including inexperienced birders, and offering any help I can to those who welcome it and who appear capable of receiving it. Indeed, I advised the Quail stringers about birds known as Partridges and about the migratory habits of Quails. They left enlightened and unlikely to inadvertently claim Quail again, though I forgot to mention to them that Grey Herons exist as well as Common Cranes.

If you read this post after birding at RW on Sunday, and perhaps felt that I was referring to you in a derogatory manner, and was offended - I apologise unreservedly. In no way did I intend to infer that your inability to separate Smew from Ruddy Duck, female Scaup from Tufted Duck, and Barnacle Goose from vile hybrid Goose was anything other than enthusiastic inexperience .....

Small print disclaimer:
I reserve the right to form opinions on anyone I meet but don't know, including outrageously biased and unfounded assumptions about their competence and capability. This includes my right to assert my opinion that you are a fuckwit.

The Leicester Llama said...

Now there's an idea - the EBC...

Ghost of Stringer said...

I prefer the club a few of us formed a while ago GOB – Grumpy Old Birders !