Sunday, 23 March 2008

Anything for the weekend Sir? Let it snow, Let it snow... Lesser Scaup!!...

Just once in a while the weather forecasters get it right, and as I got up in the morning, a good covering of snow had occurred overnight. So I decided to get out early before work in the afternoon to take some photos of snow in Leicestershire.
I took a few photos between Bardon and Beacon Hill as I know this is the highest point in Leicestershire and was bound to have snow on the ground.
After taking a few snaps,I moved onto Blackbrook to see if the two Little Egrets were still around, as I thought it might make a nice photo of two white birds on a white background!
However there was no sign of the Little Egrets feeding in Blackbrook brook,
but only a token drake Mandarin duck trying to hide in the snowy background.
Moving onto Dean's Lane,Beacon Hill I took a few more snow photos. I noticed by now that most of the snow was melting, so I decided to move onto Swithland Reservoir to do a bit of birding.
As I drove down Kinchley Lane,I saw Ben Croxtall was scanning the water with his scope, so I stop my car and got out to have a chat with Ben. The first thing Ben said was "I think I've got a Lesser Scaup out in the middle of the Reservoir!"
Looking quickly through Ben's scope the bird looked like a Lesser Scaup to me.
At this point a controlled panic occurred, as I got my scope out of the car and started to view the bird,I then phoned John Hague to tell him about the sighting, and left a message on his mobile.
As by magic, John drive down the lane towards us, less than a minute after I had left the message, to which Ben commented about the film Back to the Future, and John must have a Flux Capacitor in his car!!
In reality, John had in fact just turned into Kinchley Lane, as I sent him the message about the bird.
We then all viewed the bird, and came up to the same conclusion, that it was a Lesser Scaup.
By this time, other birders had started to arrive including Steve Lister, who aged the bird as a first-summer Drake, due to the bird showing a few juvenile features in its plumage.
Watching the bird for the next hour or so, I took some notes as I knew that I would probably have to submit a record to the BBRC, as the second observer.
As I had to be at work in the afternoon at the General Hospital, I congratulated Ben on his find and then drove home to get ready for work.

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