Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday 12th February 2012 - Super Sunday at Westport

Duck counting today, and this time at Westport. Its always fun to count the ducks, but especially when its foggy like it was this morning. We couldn't really see the whole of the ice free area on the main lake, and it never really looked like clearing. I was able to count the one Great Crested Grebe, plus the flock of seven Pochard, but not much else. We carried on walking through the reserve, moaning about birding in fog. You can bird in the rain, and high winds, but there's something about the fog that slightly hampers you. Having not seen very much at all, we returned to the main lake and found that the visibility had improved a bit. I could count the Tufted Ducks, I found five Wigeon and decided to start counting the Mallards. This meant a return down to view the model boat lake again, as this had the largest gathering of Mallard. We walked down, and I counted away. There were quite a few LBBG's on the small lake, and CJW was busy checking through, just in case there was something nice amongst them, like a Herring Gull (it is Westport after all). As I finished counting, CJW casually remarked there was an adult GLAUCOUS GULL sat on the ice. Now I had only just scanned through the gulls, so I smiled at him, and thought "wishful thinking!". CJW, alarmed at my non plussed attitude, then repeated that there was an adult GLAUCOUS GULL on the ice. I think it was the way he expressed it the second time that made me look, and there was an adult Glaucous Gull sat on the ice. We soon had all the regulars hurtling down and a nice small twitch was formed. It eventually flew onto the main lake before flying off north at just after 0930.

ABOVE - CJW's picture of the Westport Glaucous Gull

ABOVE - PJ's shot.

Sorry for over indulging, but its eight years since our last Glaucous Gull at WPL!

Then, this afternoon whilst cleaning out the rabbit, PJ rang. As per usual, I said I was on my way. He said that I'd better be, as there was eleven Whooper Swans sat on the ice. Out I hurtled again, exactly like last Sunday for the Knot. When I reached the car park, you could barely see the end of the pier as it was that foggy. A quick call revealed where he was standing, and sure enough, through the fog it was just possible to see the eleven Whoopers sat on the ice. My largest ever group at Westport, and probably was my largest flock in Staffs since the Longsdon Mill birds in the early 80's. Photography was tricky to say the least!

My attempt

and PJ's shot.