Monday, 2 November 2009

Whoops, they're Bewick's

There's a clever pun in the title, which will become apparent..............

Saturday 31st October, Weaver Hills, 9:00 - 10:30.

After all the excitement of the last few weeks, back to a bit of bread and butter. A migration watch up the Weavers. Well, I did when the fog cleared............

Quite a bit of activity when the mist cleared. 200 Fieldfare, 46 Woodpigeon, 90 Starling, 10 Skylark, 12 Meadow Pipit, 1 Siskin, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

A decision next for the afternoon, Uttoxeter Quarry or another try for Glossy Ibis round Drayton Bassett? Well, it was the latter. An afternoon stood by Fisher's Mill pit and scanning around until dusk, along with the Voices of the Tame Valley, Tom and Julian.

Unfortunately there was no sign of the Ibis all day. But highlights included the Garganey, 5 Little Egrets, 1 Water Rail, 6 Snipe, 1 Guzzunder, 20 Fieldfare and 4 Redwing.

Sunday 1st November, Blithfield Reservoir, 11:15 - 17:00.

A wild and windy day, I just felt that Blithers would have the best chance of something blown in.

4 Whooper Swans in Tad Bay I was told. But that can wait whilst scanning around the dam, and not much appeared. Then a text from Mr Blurred, informing me that the two remaining Swans are Bewick's rather than Whoopers. Looking at the size of them initially, they certainly weren't much larger than the surrounding Canada Geese.....

....then a bit of movement a short while later.

Now reader, if you look at the bird on the left, I can fully understand why there may have been a bit of confusion. One thing I always remember about Bewick's is the "concave" shape of the bill. But this one looks really long and quite straight, with a large amount of yellow on it. The bird on the right a more classic Bewick's.

It just goes to show how much variation occurs on the bill of Bewick's Swans. Which as every schoolboy knows (well, those of us who remember Sir Peter Scott on the telly, and his studies at Slimbridge), the bill pattern is unique, just like our fingerprints. Fingerprints being unique that is, our fingers don't look like a Swan's bill!

Also in Tad Bay were 71 Golden Plover, 5 Dunlin, 11 Snipe, 3 Goosander, 1 Shelduck,
and 17 Pintail. Also some autumn fungi in Stansley Wood. Don't pick it if you don't know what it is, I haven't a clue!

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