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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

11th December

Regent’s Park

Common Snipe: one dropped into the Wetland Pen, area 32 at 3.45pm.

Redwing: 14 in small groups were around the park, though mobile.

Eurasian Siskin: 2 in the Cricket Pen, area 31.

Bushy Park

Meadow Pipit: at least 50 birds in two flocks on the eastern side of the park.

Stonechat: 2 singles on the eastern side of the park.

Fieldfare: 2 birds by Queens River ( the section flowing from the Woodland Garden to the Diana Fountain).

Redwing: 10 flew north.


Most of the parks water-bodies were frozen over today.



Every step he took the ice could be heard creaking. He was intent on getting from one side to the other to attack a few swans that had dared to drop down onto the water of the Diana Fountain.


He has even taught his cygnets to be bullies.






birdman_euston said...

12 Dec:
A sub-zero morning - surely a factor behind most of the following observations:
1 Lapwing circling low over The Hub, area 37 at 12:30 preparing to land but thought better of it;
50+ Cormorant and 10+ Stock Dove coming in to roost high in trees on Heron Island, area 8 half an hour before dusk (arriving singly or a few at a time at most - sadly, a Cormorant died last night);
flock of 20+ Magpie flushed from ground in N end of Nursery, area 23 at dusk;
1♀ Wigeon in Longbridge Sanctuary;
1 Teal flying low E (having just left the lake, most likely) at 15:20;
Canada x Greylag Goose hybrid with both 'parent' species on Holme Green, area 9 at 15:10;
♀Tufted x Scaup hybrid, viewing platform of Longbridge Sanctuary, area 35 at 14:30.

Tony Duckett said...

Interesting waterfowl records, what makes you think that it was a scaup tufted hybrid?

birdman_euston said...

I must say I'm more sure of its 'Tufted' hybrid status than the identity of its second parent, Tony. It had the two-tone, darker-brown body exactly like a female Tufted Duck but with 1) the size of a female Scaup (or Pochard - both species were nearby), with 2) a white ring at the base of the bill as wide as a Scaup's (cf. older female Tufteds - it was wider than that) but slightly blurred at the base. (I wish now I had examined the bill itself more closely but I think it was the typical scaup/tufted 'blue'-bill variety.) It's possible, I suppose, that the above description matches that of an exotic species I'm unfamiliar with but as with the hybrid goose, I haven't noticed this particular bird before today. (To add to the mix, it had the slightly longer-necked, upright 'jizz' of a North American Ring-necked Duck but with a rounded, dark-brown head like a Scaup, without a hint of a crest.)

PS Is a roost of 50+ Cormorants at all unusual at this time of year, in these weather conditions? (There were nine juveniles among them, by the way.)

Tony Duckett said...

It is a lot harder to workout the parentage of female hybrid waterfowl, drakes a normally easier to do.

The Cormorant roost on Heron Island is an all year round event. The numbers in the winter though are larger (no going back to Walthamstow Res to feed young) and if my memory serves me right has exceeded over 80 birds.

birdman_euston said...

I dropped into the Park briefly looked for the 'Aythya' duck hybrid again today (13 Dec) but without success (although the hybrid goose is still present). Meanwhile, I found a photo on another birding blog that looks like much like my duck:
Female Aythya hybrid
Yesterday's individual differed only slightly from the photo, in having: a darker-brown mantle and underparts (more like a Tufted Duck); a clearer-white circular band behind the bill (more like a Scaup but more blurred / less well-defined than in that species); and a slightly longer-necked, more erect posture - but on the other hand, the duck may simply have been nervous! (Again, it was the size of a Scaup or Pochard, and I didn't examine the bill closely so it may not have had as much black as the one in the photo does.)

birdman_euston said...

12 Dec (addendum):
Worth noting that there were 580 Black-headed Gulls standing on the lake ice - three times the normal number.