A flock of 200+ Pink footed Geese next to the road at Hauxley held a single neck collared bird - Silver or Grey UBB. Don't those collars look bloody awful, but they are very effective, being easy to see and then to read with the scope.
A stop at Widdrington Moor Lake was quite productive with a large female Peregrine sitting on the same rock as a bird we watched last year at this time. She looked around casually, probably deciding whether to try duck or lapwing. Also here were 2 Great Northern Divers at the eastern end of the lake, a drake Pochard, seemingly rarer than the divers lately, 3 Goldeneye and a few commoner ducks.
Breakfast was calling so a detour via the Drift Cafe for a full Veggie offering was a fine set up for the rest of the morning.
We moved back up to Druridge Budge Fields to look for Water Pipit. On route a female Merlin dashed through Bell's Links, S.
In the freezing cold steel observation screen at the Budge Fields there were good numbers of wildfowl to scan through - 100+ Teal, 400+ Wigeon, Mallard, 10+ Shoveler and a nice drake Pintail.
While counting Teal, on the hunt for a Green-winged, all of the Wigeon flew off the bank into some water between dense juncus. I put the scope on them and was straight onto an 'American' Wigeon. It was swimming hard left toward vegetation, so I got John onto it, then it vanished into the cover.
A further half an hour plus passed by without a sign then all birds flew out again. This time John picked it up at half the distance. This time we could get a better view in a well lit position. As it fed, it was soon obvious that all was not quite right here. The bird's supposedly green eye band was actually a nice bronze colour mainly at the back. The body was a nice brick pink but had a lot more grey wash on it than it should too. I wondered if it could be a trick of the light as it looked good in the first view.
I discussed it with others in the screen, in particular Jonathan and Tariq Farooqi who were now also of the opinion our bird was showing a few too many Eurasian Wigeon features to be a pure American Wigeon. We took a phone scoped shot or two that confirmed our fears. Our new yank was indeed only half way there. An American Wigeon hybrid. Oh well you cant win them all, it was an education and it did get the adrenaline flowing when first seen....
Check here, in particular the Cley bird in 2015.....
Also here were 1 or even 2 Water Pipits and 1 Little Egret.
|A phone scoped effort and below, my notebook. Sketched on site coloured back home.|