It had to happen, for my 102nd species at the Lake and my 197th for the year. I spent minutes assuring myself that a sleeping individual was: somewhat smaller than the wigeons, pochards and tufted ducks surrounding it; and darker reddish than the wigeons. I even lost the bird and refound it, so distinctive had it become by then. It was rear on to me and I got the white undertail. I also got a nearby partner, fully awake and looking every inch a ferruginous duck.
It was almost an anticlimax that Stratford hide also disclosed four black-necked grebes, a greenshank and a green sandpiper. Earlier I had added barnacle goose and jay to my Blagdon list and heard my first Somerset marsh tit for over ten years, at Compton Martin.
I had stopped there on the Chew Valley Arts Trail to see the rather excellent sculptures by Kate Newlyn. The yearly Trail is a smaller version of the Pittenweem Arts Festival up in Fife and well worth a gander (to continue the goose theme). It was also perfect for a day that never shook off early mist.
I’ve been hoping for redwings and fieldfares the last week to beat previous early dates for them. I’ve failed with redwing but fieldfare can still come in before Wednesday. They are around, just not in this area yet.