March was a long month with five weekends. I managed two trips before the end of the month.
Saturday 29th March 2014
A busy day that started off back in Macclesfield where the COUE'S ARCTIC REDPOLL had shown on the last two mornings, but only up to 07:30hrs. We decided to skip Westport to maximise our chances. We arrived just after 06:30hrs, and the two birders already present said they had probably seen the COUE'S ARCTIC REDPOLL in the tree. We joined then, but for some reason, the Redpoll flock couldn't settle at all. Very rarely did any drop onto the feeders, and when they did gather in the trees, they soon flew off.
Eventually, we were alerted to a pale Redpoll perched high up. As soon as I saw it, it looked good for the Coue's Arctic Redpoll. I was particularly impressed by its frosty appearance. It really did stand out from the other Redpolls. I managed a short video clip of it before it flew off.
We headed south, briefly visiting Westport and dropping CJW off before we headed to Belvide Res to see the Firecrest. Excellent views were had as it showed extremely well. I had to admit I do rather like seeing Firecrest.
Next stop was at Blithfield on the dam, but there was no sign of the ROCK PIPIT, and there was no sign of the AVOCETS at Branston.
Undeterred, and still early in the day, next stop was at Brownhills in the fair county of West Mids for the long staying Glossy Ibis that had recently reappeared. When we arrived it was showing well in the paddocks.
Brownhills Glossy Ibis - my first in West Mids. Its a shame some birders refuse to recognise this beautiful county
There had been a report of two TAIGA BEAN GEESE in Worcestershire, but some bird information services were reporting them as TUNDRA BEAN GEESE. Having never seen TAIGA in the Midlands, we still had just enough time to head even further south to Kemerton Lakes, down in south Worcestershire near to the Gloucestershire border. On our arrival, it was only a short walk to see the two Taiga Bean Geese sat in a field with c30 Greylags. The general consensus amongst the local birders was indeed with Taiga and not the original Tundra. A fine Midlands tick indeed.
Monday 31st March 2014
A busy week ahead and so Monday was the only day we could have a trip out. We headed down to Cambridgeshire where we hoped to see the three decent ducks that had turned up in recent days.
First site was at Fen Drayton where a fine drake Baikal Teal was present. It seemed strange to see another one so soon after ticking the bird in December last year.
Next stop was Pymore and the Ouse Washes where there was a 1w drake American Wigeon. Luckily for us, two nice ladies had been watching it and knew exactly where it was. Unfortunately, our first views were rather distant, and the bird was asleep.With a handy swan nearby, we were soon on to it.
American Wigeon - you can just see the white blaze about 5 o'clock from the swan. Copies of the photo are available at £13 a copy (only in size 3x2)
We headed a little further up the road to opposite the Four Balls Farm to look for the female RING-NECKED DUCK but despite quite a crowd searching, we couldn't find it. Not a bad day with Marsh Harrier and a pair of Garganey also seen.