SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER
Did not bother to go out this morning after receiving so much abuse from certain quarters relating to my recent TV appearance and from the continuing fallout still being aired on the BirdGuides website. Had tried to address the subject in a candid interview with One-Show regular and wildlife enthusiast David Lindo but still the sniping continues unabated.
Anyway, JT eventually shook me out of the doldrums by informing me of a local mega just down the road - in the form of a VELVET SCOTER at Broadwater Sailing Pit in Middlesex..........
BROADWATER SAILING PIT (MIDDLESEX)
(Dry but cold and overcast)
Simon Buckingham had located the bird early afternoon and from 1330-1410 hours, I enjoyed some good views of it, as it dived and preened towards the north end, in amongst the vast hordes of Tufted Duck.
It was clearly a much larger bird than the accompanying Aythyas and was obviously an immature VELVET SCOTER. By the fact that it has some light yellow on the bill suggested it was a drake. Much of the belly was pale, indicating first-year, and apart from the overall dark brown plumage, it had a weak off-white ear covert patch behind the eye. The broad pure white secondary panel was seen well each time the bird preened.
Tufted Ducks were in abundance, with 602 logged, whilst other wildfowl present included 15 Gadwall, 6 Common Goldeneyes and a single Egyptian Goose.
Around the car parking area, Mick Frosdick and I enjoyed views of 8 LESSER REDPOLLS as they fed at the tops of the trees.
The bird is literally just 200 yards from both the Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire borders, frustratingly from the latter from my point of view as I still have not seen a Bucks Velvet Scoter. It is situated at TQ 043 896 and best viewed from the Colne riverbank footpath on the west side of the pit. Parking is limited but available at the end of the lane at TQ 048 890 from where one can walk across the muddy causeway west to the Colne footpath.
LYNSTER'S FARM, MAPLE CROSS (HERTS)
Four Egyptian Geese grazing near the barns.
THE CHESS VALLEY (BUCKS)
All 3 wintering LITTLE EGRETS on site, two just east of Bois Mill and one near Chenies Bottom. A young Grey Heron was feeding on the grass verge of Latimer Road.
At the Fishing Lakes, no sign of the recent Great Crested Grebe, but COMMON KINGFISHER, 4 drake Northern Pochards, 5 Tufted Duck and 5 Coot.
CHAFFINCH HOUSE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)
Highlight this morning in the garden was a male SISKIN - my first of the autumn. Still up to 12 Goldfinches present on the Nyger seed.