Saturday, 16 April 2011

A birds eye view of the Fen and a bit of Fudge for breakfast

Lots going on in the past week, its the start of survey season so early mornings are becoming more regular and now we have a good excuse to spend all day out in the field doing surveys. I will obviously not be writing about any of the rarer nesting species on this blog so at times it may go a little quiet bird wise but then again moths and soon odes and other insects will become the focus.

This weeks highlight was having to get a cherrypicker in to do some essential work at height. This meant that we could get a once in a life time chance to see the fen from above (it was high!) Due to work commitments I could only go up it in the workshop yard but it was a great view, changes the perspective of the reserve for me. lots of pics taken but due to bad light they have not come out too well, nor do they do the view any real justice.

Yesterday morning I finally managed to catch up with the Ferruginous Duck from fen hide. It was good to catch up with and I got really good views which made it better. I am not sure of a) the origins of the bird and b) the purity. I think it looks pretty pure to me however there are some things I need to check on, it seems to show quite a lot of black on its bill, should just be the nail, the head and eye colour look good to me, as do the flanks mantle and pure white undertail. It was displaying to the female Pochards but I guess that's ok with the lack of any of its own kind to flirt with! I may stick some picks on birdforum to see what the duck experts (or people that claim to be, but have never seen a Ferruginous Duck themselves) think.

Other interesting sightings for the week were Little Ringed Plover over the fen at 4.30 am on Saturday and this interesting looking Buzzard which was most probably a Common, however it did show quite an interesting variation- pale uppertail, good carpal patches, dark belly patch and had a long winged appearance, certainly got the heart beating when I saw it coming towards me!


  1. Hi Ben,

    The last photo shows a barred tail and darkish secondaries while the flight feathers are too prominently barred for a juv. Rough-leg.

    Could certainly confuse at distance though

  2. sorry, meant to say last but one photo

  3. Cheers Tim, yes your right it does show a barred tail, this was one of the things that clinched it as a common, its a shame I didnt get the upper side of the tail, thats the bit that would be seen from a distance. An interesting bird all the same, I just wonder how many times this bird has been called rough leg, there is 'apparently' one in the valley at the moment but who knows after seeing this one!

  4. I remember seeing a drake Ferruginous Duck harrassing Pochard at Strumpshaw in April 2009 that turned out to be ringed, so hopefully someone can get a good look at the legs as it goes about its inter-species activities!

  5. I saw that bird too James, it was sporting a nice big blue ring as far as I remember, I probably hav a photo of it somewhere in my computer. I tried my best to look at this duck as it dived/preened and did not see any obvious rings, however this could change when its seen out of water standing up. time will tell.

  6. Hi Ben i watched the Fudge Duck for 1/2 hour or so on Tuesday from the Fen Hide and couldn't see any sign of a ring as it dived and preened, definately not got the big chunky blue ring of 2009's bird.