Monday, 22 October 2012

Black Beauty

Being so far inland, the Nunnery Lakes is hardly the most exciting place for birding, but being just behind the office is very convenient for a lunchtime wander.  October is often the most exciting month of the year for finding good birds blown miles off course and the dull and dingy weather this lunchtime and the obvious passage of Fieldfares and Redwings overhead as I walked down the track did give the feel it may be a good day.  Typically though, it was generally pretty quiet, a check of the thrush flocks moving along the river failed to produce any Ring Ouzels and the bushes failed the produce a rare warbler and with that I was just giving up and heading back to work. As I was walking past Bob Clarke Lake, the most northerly and so last one I was going past, there's not usually more than a couple of Mallards or Canada Geese since it's quite small and lined with fishermen but today there was something odd and not just a female Pochard with a few Tufteds, but a jet black duck asleep.  Immediately I knew it was likely to be a drake Common Scoter but as its bill was firmly hidden I treated it with caution, not wanting to raise an alarm of such a rare find (well for here anyway) only for it to wake up and turn out to be a funny looking Mallard or something.  Thankfully, after a few tense minutes, it woke up and revealed the yellow and black beak that confirmed my initial thoughts and thankfully for several other Lakes listers, it stayed until dusk at least allowing them to connect with this first for the lakes, leaving an agonising overnight wait for those who couldn't make it......

I didn't have my camera to hand at the time so thanks to John Marchant for the above photo.

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