Friday, 18 April 2014

15 Apr 14 - Ouse Washes

As the Baikal Teal had reappeared in the Cambridgeshire, I thought I'd have a day around the Ouse Washes. I arrived at Four Balls Farm at about 8am. There was one other birder present, who'd seen the Green-winged Teal, but not a whole deal else. The site was really nice though, with lots of Yellow Wagtails, Little Egrets, Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, plus other waterfowl to look through plus lots of birds tucked up, roosting on the reed-covered banks that we could barely see. A few other birders arrived about an hour later and it was one of those who exclaimed that he was sure he'd just glimpsed one or two Glossy Ibis drop into the marsh. After a few minutes of watching, I noticed two dark shapes making their way along the channel at the back of the marsh. Glossy Ibises! I watched them on and off for about 10 minutes, looking back down the channel where all of the ducks had been congregating. At one point I caught a two-second view of a duck swim into some reeds which I felt sure was the Baikal and sure enough, 15 minutes later it swam out of exactly the same spot. It spent the next half-hour commuting between the two banks of the channel until I headed off at 10.30.
I had a look a bit further down the B1411 near the railway crossing, which is part of the Ouse Washes reserve. There was a lingering Whooper Swan on the marshes along with the Mute Swans, but not a whole lot else.
I had a stop at Lynford Arboretum on the way back in the hope of seeing some Two-barred Crossbills, but although there were plenty of Common Crossbills around (about 25), I couldn't find any with white wing-bars. The crossbills are much harder to see now. In the autumn and early winter, they were feeding on the pine cones on the outside of the canopies, but now those have mainly been eaten and the birds have to feed inside the canopies making them much harder to get on to.
With all these Two-barred Crossbills around, it does make me wonder if the UK will get its first breeding records this year.

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