Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Pied-billed Grebe

I spent a frustrated afternoon in the office on Tuesday after news of the first mainland UK twitchable Pied-billed Grebe since about 1999 broke. The bird was reported and photographed several times during the afternoon at Hollingworth Lake Country Park, near Rochdale in Lancashire, about an hour and a bit from my house. There was no way I could get there on Tuesday so I had to make do with looking at Adrian Dancy's excellent set of photos of the bird taken during the afternoon and hope it would stay put (Adrian's photos coming here soon)...

I had an anxious nights broken sleep, got up at 4.30, and spent 45minutes in the dark on site waiting for it to get light. It was cold with a bit of frost and I was the second person on site. Made my way round to the area where the bird hide was and then found the small enclosed section of the lake and waited for it to get light.

At about 7am (by which time Dave had dragged his way to site from Harrogate) movement was noted along the edge of some emergent vegetation. By this time there was 4 of us including John Price watching the bird. Gradually it came out and showed really well, and as the light improved good views were obtained. John managed to get the following pictures of the bird in the early light. These pictures are © 2010 John Price and are reproduced below with permission.

This bird was always going to be popular due to it's central, easy-to-get-to location and the fact there hasn't been a twitchable bird for ages and as I was leaving to try and get back to work before anyone noticed I was absent plenty of twitchers were starting to arrive on the site. It must have been a quiet news day as the BBC turned up evidently.

Hopefully it will hang around for a bit as I would be keen to make a return visit to try and get some photos for myself, furthermore it would be nice to see it in breeding plumage...

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