Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Christmas Warble

Don't worry reader, that's not a cue for me to start singing! As I thought would be the case, there's not been much birding over the last couple of weeks.

That's mainly due to most of my time taken up with visiting my dad at the Derby Royal hospital, after a back operation. It's all gone really well, so that's good. Even though I got him back home last Sunday, I've felt absolutely shattered ever since. But what a place the Derby Royal is, you walk in the main entrance and it's more like motorway services than a hospital!

But I managed to find a little bit of time to look at the Eider last Saturday, at Rudyard Lake of course. It was pretty distant from the Reacliffe Road sailing club, as the below picture will suggest. But it must've found a good supply of freshwater mussels, as the bird was diving and returning to the surface with shellfish in it's bill. And I'd been and gone by the time a Red-throated Diver appeared, never mind.

Then this morning, a couple of hours was spent in Fenton Park in Stoke, adjacent to Berry Hill Fields.

The reason why is because of the appearance of a Lesser Whitethroat. At this time of year central Asian races are a possibility. And from what I've seen, I haven't a clue if it is a central Asian one or just a bog-standard Lesser Whitethroat.

But while it was happily feeding on the nectar of a flowering Mahonia, it appeared to have quite buff underparts, short primary projection and lots of tail-flicking. I can't recall our Lesser Whitethroats doing tail-flicking like a Chiffchaff, but then again they're usually skulking in Hawthorn.

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