Friday, 3 January 2020

Day three at Abberton

We chose Abberton as our destination today anticipating a decent days birding despite the grey wet conditions being forecast.

Grey and wet at Abberton today
We arrived on Layer Breton causeway at first light and quickly found our first Goosander and Smew of the year. A single drake Goosander and two Red head Smew. As we scanned the Tufted Ducks in search of the Ring-necked Duck we found four drake Greater Scaup but failed to see the Ring-Neck.

Greater Scaup in the middle of all the Tufted and Pochard
We saw White-fronted Geese as we left the causeway and from the Wigborough Bay screen we found only three Great Egrets of note and from Billets farm view point we added Stonechat and Skylark to the years total.

Down on the causeway at Layer De Le Haye we found lots more Goosanders and a I had a fly over Meadow Pipit before the strangest of encounters when a Swallow was spotted flying along the causeway in a desperate attempt to feed. 3rd of January is without doubt my earliest encounter with this particular Hirundine but I doubt the poor thing will survive with food being scarce for it.

We toyed with the idea of shooting off to Norfolk to chase down the Desert Wheatear but instead decided to drive around to Abberton Church and that proved a good decision as from here we located the Green-winged Teal and the Black-throated Diver along with several Corn Buntings on the fence line as we walked down to the screen. I picked up a Greenfinch and then enjoyed both male and female Merlin hunting the reservoir fringe for Linnet.

We took one last trip round to Layer Breton causeway and this time managed to find the Ring-necked Duck in with the Tufted Ducks and got a bonus tick with a Kingfisher sitting in the overhanging branches.

Ring-necked Duck snoozing
Kingfisher hidden in the branches
A nice morning in the home county rewarded with some very good year ticks and cracking views of Merlin.

Year list now 112
Life list still 410

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