Posts Tagged ‘Northern Pintail’

Keith and I in South Devon for a few days birdwatching and today we are out with local Naturalist and artist Mike Langman. Our first stop is Yarner Woods on the edge of Dartmoor in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

We see a number of different woodland species before we hear one drumming. Heading towards the sound we eventually locate the area and see the bird as it flies away. It is so small it looks like a pair of wings with no body!

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Moving on we locate another drumming male and locate it high on a tree. We get some brief views before it too flies off. We hear another drumming but are unable to locate it.

From here we move onto the side of a valley to look for Goshawks. Mike gets a brief view but Keith and I cannot get onto it before it disappears. That proves to be our only sighting and we move onto crossing the River Exe to Aylesbeare Common in search of Dartford Warbler. We are very fortunate and before very long we locate an area where 3-4 Dartford Warblers are disputing territories and chasing each other around.

Dartford Warbler.
Photo by Tom Lee (https://www.flickr.com/photos/68942208@N02/)

We also have good views of Stonechat and 3 Ravens which flew over the common.

Stonechat (m)
Stonechat (f)

Our next stop is Powderham where a Yellow-Browed Warbler has been over-wintering but no sign. There were a number of YBW over-wintering in Devon, but a brief cold spell a couple of weeks ago seems to have moved them on (as it has for the two I saw in Dorset in January). A brief stop at Starcross follows and we quickly locate the wintering Slavonian (Horned) Grebe which has been wintering in the area. Our final stop of the day is the RSPB reserve at Bowling Green Marsh on the edge of the River Exe. There were a large number of Pintail (around 100) and Wigeon (c50) as well as other ducks. Leaving the Marsh we continued to the riverside and on the mud were Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Curlew. Also present were 3 Goldeneye.

Pintail

An excellent day’s birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Horned Grebe [sp] (Podiceps auritus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dryobates minor)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Northern Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Dartford Warbler [sp] (Sylvia undata)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Redpoll [sp] (Acanthis flammea)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)

First trip of the year for Keith and I to the London Wetland Centre.

On arrival, we heard that a Bittern was showing well from Hedley Hide and so we went off in that direction. sadly it had retreated into the reeds by the time we arrived and it was a 60-minute wait until we saw one fly out from the reeds and head across to another section of reed-bed. We did have the pleasure of a Sparrowhawk keeping us company in a nearby tree during our wait.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Our next stop was the Peacock Tower and a search for the resident wintering Jack Snipe and Water Pipit. The latter proved no problem although as soon as I got onto the bird it took flight and disappear from view. Another wait followed before I spotted one on their usual island. We were able to watch it feeding in and out of the vegetation for about 15 minutes before it was lost from view. Then a few minutes later, it or another one, ran across the island. I guess something had spooked it, although we couldn’t see any other bird in the area. keith reacting quickly managed to get a photograph as it passed across his lens view.

Having seen the specialities, there was time to wrap up the commoner species on the reserve.

Tufted Duck (male and female)
Eurasian Robin
Grey Heron (one of last years young)
Northern Pintail (2 males)

On our way to see if there was a Grey Wagtail in the Otter enclosure (our usual place to find them as they feed in the fast running water) we heard that a Bittern was again showing from Hedley hide and so we diverted there and this time we were lucky and it was still in view when we arrived.

Eurasian Bittern

The light was now failing fast and so it was time to call an end to a great day.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull (Common) [group] (Larus canus canus/heinei)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Water Pipit [sp] (Anthus spinoletta)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

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On the way back from a trip to Peterborough, Sue and I stopped off at Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for lunch and a couple of hours bird watching. From the main hide, we could see that the number of Whooper Swans present had risen significantly since our last visit back in mid-September with arrivals from the breeding grounds in the artic.

 

Also present were good numbers of duck species which also make their home for the winter on the washes of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk

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Eurasian Wigeon

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Common Pochard

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Northern Shoveler (m & f)

 

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Pintail (m)

The star birds of the day, although only seen briefly in flight were a group of 3 Common Cranes, which flew into the far side of the reserve before disappearing into the vegetation and out of sight. These once very rare birds are now increasing in numbers due to re-introduction programmes in Somerset and East Anglia.

Common Crane (Photographed Slimbridge Dec 2013)

Despite being the first weekend in November, we also saw a red admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly and a pair of Common Darter Dragonflies, witness to how mild the autumn has been.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Crane [sp] (Grus grus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Sue and I managed to get a couple of hours at Bough Beech Reservoir before the rain started and the visibility dwindled. In a ‘winter’ so far that has not seemed very wintry (at least not in this part of the UK) the birds seemed not to have noticed and there were a large number of wintering duck on the reservoir including groups of Mallard, Tufted, Common Pochard and Eurasian Wigeon. A single male Northern Pintail, a single male Shovelor and a pair of Gadwall completed the count on the southern basin. A small flock of Eurasian Teal were on the northern basin which otherwise was pretty empty,

Pintail

Pintail

Pochard

Pochard

A walk to the orchard was greeted by the calls of Fieldfare although none could be seen. The orchard feeders were alive with Blue Tits and Great Tits. A single Marsh Tit and Coal Tit were also seen and a small party of Long-tailed Tits were present in the centre car-park.

Blue (left) and Great Tit on feeders

Blue (left) and Great Tit on feeders

The call of Fieldfare alerted me to a party of 8 flying away from the orchard as I walked to the flooded meadow, which apart from more Great and Blue Tits was very quiet. Retracing my steps past the Orchard I found some Fieldfare munching on the fallen apples.

Fieldfare

Fieldfare

Coming back onto the reservoir causeway 3 Mandarin Duck swam into view and a Kingfisher sped across the reservoir and landed in the bank-side trees. The weather was now deteriorating and we prepared to leave but just then some other birders called that a pair of Goosander (aka Common Merganser) had come out of the bank-side vegetation.

Mandarin

Mandarin

All in all a good start to the New Year – 10 species of Duck and 5 species of Tit. Lets hope the rest of the year is as successful!

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

 

Sue and I are taking a long weekend break in Suffolk. On the way we stop off at Abberton reservoir a nature reserve run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. I remember when there was just a basic wooden hide here but now there is a visitors centre complete with café. How times change! But the cup of tea and sandwich were very welcome before we set off to the hide on the edge of the reservoir. As we walk over the grassland we are serenaded by a Skylark as it makes its ascending song flight before plunging back to its perch on a fence post.

Abberton reservoir

Abberton reservoir

Abberton Resrvoir

Abberton Resrvoir

The reservoir is vast but there is a good selection of geese close to the hide. Canada. Greylag and Egyptian are present although there is no sign of the small flock of White-Fronted Geese which had been present a few days earlier.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Egyptian goose

Egyptian goose

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

There is also a good selection of duck feeding on the edges of the reservoir. Eurasian Wigeon are the commonest species present, but out on the reservoir itself there are a few Goldeneye.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

Goldeneye

Goldeneye [from archive]

Tucked in amongst the Wigeon we find a sleeping Pintail.

Drake Pintail sleeping amongst Eurasian Wigeon

Drake Pintail sleeping amongst Eurasian Wigeon

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gull

After walking back to the car park, again to the sound of the displaying Skylark its time to resume our journey to Suffolk.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

Pintail

Posted: February 8, 2014 in Birds, Natural History
Tags: ,

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Pintail is one of the most elegant and attractive of UK duck species with its long neck and attractive markings. It is a winter species in most of the UK with <50 breeding pairs in the very north of the country. Estimates of the wintering population are around 29,000 birds. It is seen mainly on sheltered coasts and estuaries although bords are sometimes found on inland waters. There has been a pair this winter at the Wetlands centre in London.

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The break in the stormy weather is holding and so I decide to take the first visit of the year to the London Wetland Centre.

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The sun is shining as I arrive and the birds are active, no doubt taking advantage of the conditions.

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The highlight was some excellent views of Eurasian Bittern – first one in the reedbed and then later another flying being areas of reeds on the other side of the reserve – so almost certainly a different bird.

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There were also excellent views of the 2 Pintail which have been present all winter. Good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler also present.

Teal

Teal

Wigeon

Wigeon

Pintail

Pintail

A brief glimpse of a Brambling on the feeder station was a good record for London. An excellent days birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)