Lovely Weather For Ducks

You know it’s bad weather in Fleetwood when the Nature Park is empty on your arrival. Normally there are plenty of dog walker’s cars. I took advantage of the conditions and lack of canine footfall on the bridge to get some ‘ducks in rain’ pictures.

Without wishing to be anthropomorphic the regular drake Shoveler didn’t appear particularly enamoured with the conditions whatever the idiom the blogpost title reflects says.

It was coming down heavily enough for droplets to gather on this Tufted Duck pair before they dived again.

The day as a whole was spent largely with wildfowl. There were plenty of Pink-footed Geese near the entrance road to the nature park. The fields they were in were uneven and it was difficult to get a good view of the whole flock, which must have been a couple of thousand strong. I managed to watch them for half an hour or so from behind trees before they were spooked by a horse, there was an orange legged bird and that was about it.

I had a couple of hours before collecting Jane from work and went to Myerscough Quarry to do the monthly national wildfowl count. These disused gravel pits attract a lot of waterfowl, most notably Wigeon. It is worth listing the full totals from today:-

c770 Wigeon

68 Coot

53 Mallard

27 Greylags

25 Teal

20 Tufted Duck

9 Shoveler

7 Pochard

4 Goosander

3 Little Grebe

2 Gadwall

The Wigeon are very skittish and whilst I avoided causing significant disturbance a couple of anglers accidentally put the whole flock up, and they then wasted a lot of precious energy circling the two main pits several times. The site is private anyway, but I always view from an overlooking field precisely to avoid spooking the Wigeon.

One of the two main pits, if you zoom in you can see the hundreds of wildfowl present

Nearby on the edge of the canal were a pair of Mute Swans. One of these was ringed – blue 4CVP.

Thanks to Steve Christmas who was as prompt as ever getting back to me with details of this bird. It was ringed as a cygnet at Forton on 17 September 2017. The only other report was another of mine, on the canal at Nateby Hall on 16 February 2019. Presumably it finds the canal to its liking, here is a picture from the 2019 observation but I no longer know which bird it was:

In the same field as the Mutes were 4 Pinkfeet. It is not uncommon for a single bird to occur in locations like this with feral geese, but the presence of four suggests that they were wild birds and as such this is unusual here.

On the way to meet Jane at the college I checked the handful of gulls resting in a flooded field by the Norcross roundabout. Last Sunday this produced a couple of Mediterranean Gulls, and the roll with this species at the site continued with a first winter present. A subtle but nice bird to round off some enjoyable birding.

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