Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Local news

Having been away from the Birdwatch office yesterday, I missed out on a rare local sighting of Peregrine from the office window, which overlooks Alexandra Park. It’s a few years since I saw my only other local Peregrine, so I should have been feeling gripped this morning – except that, amazingly, we were treated to a repeat showing today.

Flushed with that unexpected success, I headed into the park for a break at lunchtime, following up on David Callahan’s report that the first Gadwall of the year were still present on the reservoir. Out of sight on an initial scan, I then discovered them close in against the southern bank, lurking out of sight much of the time. As a general rule it takes at least two, often three, scans with binoculars or a scope to get an accurate picture of what birds might be present at a given site. I’m glad I made a third scan today, because it was repaid with a distant drake Common Teal perched at the water’s edge at the far end of the reservoir. This unexpected find is another local rarity, and was my second patch second of the day, as it were, after my first (also a male) in January last year.

As I was leaving the park, I bumped into a couple out birding who I haven’t seen locally before. They were occasional visitors from Palmer’s Green and, to my surprise, had seen a pair of teal fly in – the female must have been asleep out of sight along the bank. It was a short-lived stay, though, as they had gone by the time Bob ‘Hardcore’ Watts checked in late afternoon.

Along with Mallard, Northern Shoveler (at the boating pond), Tufted Duck and Pochard, today’s underwhelming total of six duck species was nonetheless probably the most I’ve seen in one day at this site. The patch additions, which for the first and probably last time this year put me on the same year-list total for Alexandra Park as Bob, were:
54. Peregrine Falcon.
55. Gadwall.
56. Common Teal.
57. Mistle Thrush.
58. Sparrowhawk.

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