Carr Vale sighting reported by Mark Beevers

What better way to start the round up than with today’s exceptional find, a male Garganey.

Carr Vale update for the start of December and what better way to start the round up than with today’s exceptional find, a male Garganey, still in eclipse plumage, which came in with nine Wigeon around 1100 and stayed on the Middle Flash until the bird scarer disturbed the duck and it relocated to Tony’s Scrape. Originally I thought it to be a first winter male but having checked a photo of it flapping its wings it shows a clean belly which should make it an adult, certainly the fore-wing looks adult. Whatever it’s age it’s a great find for the reserve. The bird has probably been in the area a few days as on 3rd (I think) I saw a pale fore-winged small duck which I suspected to be this species but I lost it before I could confirm the id. We had a male back in 2015 that was present between 6th-16th November which was the fifth November record for the county and this bird relocated to Rufford Park (and nearby) where it over wintered two years running, hopefully this time it will stay to winter with us. According to BOD there are just three records of this species for the county in mid-winter (Dec - Feb) and this is just the second December record. Also today Wigeon were up to a season high 102, Teal had increased to 93, one of the Barn Owls was seen (there may be three, certainly there’s two, in the area), the long staying Marsh Tit was still at its favoured feeding table and three Chiffchaffs were long the embankment still. Not a bad day. The weather on 5th was atrocious but in between the periods of heavy rain we managed to see 93 Wigeon and a Peregrine but bird of the day was a female Merlin that failed in its pursuit of a Redwing. Since the beginning of the month up to five Willow Tits are noted daily, the Marsh Tit has been seen daily as have Chiffchaffs (up to three), whilst Barn Owls are reported most days. Other notable species seen include Peregrine and Cetti’s Warbler on 1st which is the date the first Chiffy was seen, male Goosander south and Cetti’s Warbler heard again on 2nd, Goosander on 3rd, Golden Plover and Peregrine on 4th whilst late news for November concerned a male Blackcap still present on Stockley Trail by Bluebanks on 30th November. A brief summary of birds seen during October / November whilst I was away will be published shortly.