Monday, 4 April 2011

It's Real Birding with Unreal Birds!

Bit of an anti-climax today really, or so it appeared.  The weather started off well: bright, sunny and breezy.  West Hartford was devoid of Willow Warbler and Linnet, two species I was keen to 'tick' there.  Pheasant, Grey Partridge, Meadow Pipit, Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, GoldfinchTeal, Oystercatcher, Greylag and not much else.  No sign of 'Midas' Malloy's Osprey, not that I expected there to be.

Arcot was noisier, thanks to 13 Canada Geese, more Oystercatcher, a few Tufties, the odd Mute Swan, the usual passerines and corvids and a Common Buzzard.  Three Sand Martin passed through (and another three later over the Blue Star football field).

Castle Island was by comparison, subdued.  Canadas and BHGs aplenty, Shelduck, Teal and Cormorants were the main players.

Off to Bothal Pond next.  Heart attack No.1 here.  I have never seen a Blue-winged Teal before (and I still haven't).  Scanning the NW shore and an odd looking duck raised its head out of the water, with the B-w T facial bars/stripes.  'Bloody Hell!', says I,'a Blue-winged Teal!'  WRONG - as the water drained from its head (as fast as the blood had drained from my face, I might add), the head appeared greener than blue.  I have never seen one in the flesh, so professionals reading this blog, give me a little space, please.

And the bird was somewhat heavy and the beak likewise.  A quick scan to the left recealed a male Shoveler, and the odd duck was similar in size/bill.  The book quickly dispelled any need to get on the phone, but likewise did not conclusively tell me what the bird was.  It was not right for either a male or female Shoveler.  Too far away for a snap - even a record snap - I left (consulting t'interweb later, it may be an Australian Shoveler).

Pictures are here.

Cresswell was flat, nothing even vaguely 'Stateside', and East Chev. too.

Druridge Pools was the usual Teal and BHG fest.  The Pintails were there, and little else, apart from this bonny chap:

It is, t'interweb tells me, a Green Pheasant - Phasianus versicolor.  I saw the bird last week as it flew into the newly coppiced area by the Budge.  Today, it was out on the field.

HOT OFF THE PRESS - BirdGuides tells me it's not what I thought, it's Phasianus colchicus tenebrosus.  Now that's what you pay your subs for!

So, a possible Aussie duck and a 'Far Eastern' Pheasant (not).  Bona fide visitors as a result of the recent tsunami?  Not likely!  Escapes from a local collection?  Probably, but new and nice nonetheless.


  1. Me and Cain saw the same Pheasant sitting in front of the budge hide last week, looked more purple at the time

  2. The 'all weather birders' found this pheasant (or its brother ) in the mist on 17th March. In the same area. Tom seemed to think they have been mentioned before. Birding friend of mine spotted Golden Pheasant in Killy some weeks ago. I guess there are a few collectors around.