Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Goosander- male on No.5 res
'sinensis'- better than a kick in the gulars
Aythya weirdness

I covered the whole group today from 1100 til 1430. Cold, clear conditions with a light Northerly breeze. Most of the reservoirs were ice free except for No.2 and a bit of No.1. Highlights were drake Goosander on Lockwood, and a particularly confiding one on No.5, 2 Lapwing flying North over Lockwood, large numbers of Teal and 3 Jackdaws west over No.5.
Goosander 2
Goldeneye 9
Lapwing 2
Teal 112
Shoveler 10
Ruddy Duck 14
Jackdaw 3
Shelduck 5
GBBGull 3
Kingfisher 2
Sparrowhawk 1 imm.
Water Rail (calling from West Warwick)
Little Egret 1

Also of interest was this aythya duck on No.3 res shown in the photos above. The bird shows an obvious peaked crown but no crest, reminiscent of Ring-necked Duck or even Lesser Scaup. The bill seemed slightly broader than that of a Tufty. It was a very dark horn colour with a narrow grey subterminal band. The distal area beyond that, including the nail, was black. In some of the photos the nail appears pale. This is a trick of the light caused by water on the bill tip reflecting sunlight.
The cheeks of the bird showed a dark bronzey or purplish sheen. The undertail coverts were dirty white. It's obviously a hybrid but what the hell is it?? It looks like a Pochard was involved somewhere along the line. I'm going for Pochard x Lesser Scaup! Seriously though, I don't know a great deal about aythya hybrids so if anyone out there has any idea what this is please drop me a line or post on londonbirders forum; i'd be very grateful.

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