Sunday, 20 January 2013

Haddiscoe Island in the snow.

It was a particularly penetratingly cold morning today with a strong bitter easterly wind blowing straight in over the marshes. I decided it was worth checking out Haddiscoe Island if only to see if there were any interesting ducks on the ice free New Cut. By interesting I mean ducks that would be useful for my Patchwork list such as Tufted Duck or Pochard, or if I was really pushing the boat out, Goldeneye so I wasn't asking for much. I set off in the family 4x4 on roads like an ice-rink. Meanwhile husband took the sensible option staying in bed until 11, before settling himself in front of Sky Sports for the afternoon.
Thankfully the main road was clear and I arrived at the New Cut without incident. The snow on the embankment on it had few footprints in it. No one else had been as foolhardy as me but I was wrapped up well and set off optimistically.
My optimism was misplaced. The only new ducks with the usual Teal and Mallard was a group of Wigeon, a species I've already got on my patchwork list as a calling flyover. Still it was nice, I suppose, to get the bird in the flesh. Turning in to the icy wind I started to scan the Island only to find it devoid of any geese, swans or egrets but managed to pick up a distant Peregrine ( a new patchwork bird) plus 6 or so Marsh Harriers.
I'm on antibiotics for a sinus infection so when my nose started to bleed ( I assume due to the cold) it was time to call it a day and head home. I turned to retrace my steps and saw a small flock of geese heading my way. Raising my bins the first birds I looked at were Pink-feet but the next was completely white with black wing tips, the Ross's Goose(!), followed by half a dozen Barnacle Geese. I can't count the Ross's but the Barnacles are going on the patchwork list. Making my way back to the car the only other birds of note were a single Bearded Tit, a flock of 10 Skylarks and a Reed Bunting.
Ironically as I headed home in the car on the opposite side of the valley, the same flock of geese appeared in front of me again, only half a mile from my house, presumably trying to find somewhere to feed and once home a scan from the warmth of the bedroom produced another Peregrine sitting out on Thorpe Marshes. Seems I hadn't needed to leave home at all!

1 comment:

  1. I applaud your commitment Alison, if only the quality of birds on my patch were enough to give me a nose bleed! But seriously, take care out there, it was bitterly cold yesterday. Toying with going out again today myself.