MONDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
A bright and sunny day with a light to moderate NE wind
Following up a report of a juvenile Citrine Wagtail at HADDENHAM (BUCKS), the bird in question in fields by the Garden Centre was a YELLOW WAGTAIL - one of two first-winters present.
Went back home and did a full inventory and walk of the LOWER CHESS VALLEY (BUCKS) - checking from Chenies Bottom to Chenies village.
In the warm sunshine, there was a lot of butterfly activity, with good numbers of Red Admiral and Comma feeding on the hedgerow just north of Mill Farm and several Speckled Woods along the footpath.
Three MEADOW PIPITS flew west, with Nuthatch and Goldcrest encountered in Chenies Bottom. Two Common Kestrels were noted, with 5 Pied Wagtails in the horse fields at Valley Farm and a Great Spotted Woodpecker by the cressbeds.
The ploughed fields at Mountwood Farm held 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 5 Argenteus Herring Gulls.but no Wheatears or chats; at least 6 Barn Swallows were also flying around
Just as I was about to head back to my car, I was texted about a BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Daventry Reservoir in Northamptonshire and with it being so quite of late locally, I thought I would head up there and attempt to see it. Before departing, I checked with two locals on the authenticity of the sighting.
Anyhow, it was 57 miles to the pay & display car park at DAVENTRY COUNTRY PARK (NORTHAMPTONSHIRE) and by the time I had arrived, the bird had been lost - seemingly flown and disappeared into emerging shoreline vegetation......
About 25 of us searched high and low for the bird from the dam but drew a blank before John Judge relocated it in its original location viewing from the tea room at the base of the dam. And then that dreaded jinx the site has cut in. Joining JJ in the bay, we obtained 'crippling' views of the bird at just 40 yards range and immediately I was struck by the size of the bill. It was extremely spatulated in shape on the outer flanges and was a deadringer for a Shoveler bill - even being orange at the under base. It was all wrong for the normal black bill of Blue-winged Teal. Furthermore, the legs were very orange rather than the yellow of adult Blue-winged Teal - sadly this bird has to be a HYBRID. A good looking one though, with a perfect Blue-winged Teal pattern, as well as breast, flank and undertail covert markings of that species, and the pale loral spot. We live and learn.
A Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpipers were seen, 27 Shoveler, 23 Common Teal and 7 House Martins.