Got a call from Tim saying he and Chris had got an interesting duck (either a Lesser Scaup or Hybrid Aythya sp), it was perfect timing as it was lunchtime so I shot across to be greeted by a distant Aythya species on a bit of water that was not totally frozen over (unlike the rest of the area which was frozen solid). It was an interesting bird, but due to a combination of poor visibility and distance the ID couldn't be 100% certain. Tim's written a brief description of the bird here and will go looking for it again tomorrow.
There was a huge number of birds present in the centre of the Ings, all concentrated around the small open area of water. I didn't have time to count anything but estimates of numbers follow: 300+ Tufted Ducks, 100 Pochard, 15+ Goldeneye, 100 Pintail, hundreds of Mallard, Wigeon and Teal. Lots of geese (Canada and Grey-lag), none of the recently reported White-fronted Geese that were mentioned in the log book!
A Green-winged Teal briefly appeared on the river in front of the hide before flying to the near side riverbank and out of sight, joined quickly by hundreds of Common Teal and Wigeon. A pair of Bewick's Swans flew in and landed on the water. Again, one of these birds was the darvic-ringed bird - see here for some details on this bird (more will come soon too). At least 60 Whooper Swan flew onto the river too.
Tim and Chris mentioned that they'd had a Marsh Harrier and Peregrine Falcon prior to my arrival and just before I left Tim picked up a distant harrier coming in from the northwest - a sub-adult male Hen Harrier!!! It gently glided towards Aughton. Amazingly my second Hen Harrier in the recording area in less than 2 weeks! I wonder if this was the bird Arnie found back in late November/early December!
I'm now looking forward to being able to spend the weekend birding locally to see if I can re-locate the Green-winged Teal, if we can suss out the Aythya duck (will leave that to Tim!). However, news this morning of a Hawfinch in the north of the recording area, along with the Iceland Gull at Rufforth tip are going to make for a busy time!
This morning was incredibly cold (as it was for most of the day) so I took a couple of scenic shots of the local dog-walking patch on my phone (below). A few thrushes (Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush) were noted, but not much else. Did have a couple of Tree Sparrow in the garden today which was nice!
Sunrise down my lane!
The dogs enjoying the ice and snow