Duck Tails

Now the evenings are getting a bit brighter I thought I would take the opportunity to go down to Cheddar reservoir.  Now I don't go here all that often and when I do it is normally in the company of my 2 year old daughter.  She doesn't like birding.  She does like shouting.  This doesn't sit well with the local creatures who call the lake home.  Normally the local wildlife scarpers to the middle of the lake and stays there until the loud and rather enthusiastic bipedal beast has departed the area.

Today I was flying solo.  I was quite keen to see the Long Tailed duck which has been hanging around.  I have never seen one before but had a vague idea of what one looked like.  So off I went...

Fortunately I came across two birders who were "dug in" with scope and binoculars at the ready.  They had already seen the duck but it wasnt around when I turned up (what a surprise).

Now heres the interesting part.  They had a Iceland gull in the scope.  Now my gull knowledge is limited and I have to say that they are not may favourite bird.  This all stems from a horrific experience in Glastonbury high street a few years back.  At Natwest cash machine I felt a large, cold, wet sensation on my head.  Looking up I quickly identified a number of Herring gulls flying about...

Herring gulls aren't noted for being picky with their food.  Kebabs, chips, chocolate bars... You name it.  Now what goes in has to come out.  The backside of a Herring gull is not a pretty place to be.  As you can tell I haven't fully recovered from what I had to wash out of my hair.

Anyway, I got a look at a juvenile Iceland gull.  An incredible spot and with confirmation from the bird book there was no doubt as to its identity.  A first for me.

I carried on round the resevoir with the normal pochard and Coots milling around.  A group of Tufted ducks caught my eye as one of them looked a bit different.

What a handsome critter.  I have to confess the the Long Tailed duck caught my attention for far too long.  It took me ages to get any worthwhile shots.  After about 20 minutes it did come reasonably close but the light was on its way out.

Rather pleased with finding the proverbial needle in the haystack I turned to go home.  Then some more interesting ducks flew over and landed.

Now I am seriously impressed by these guys (and gals).  Goosanders are bigger than I thought and have some really nice striking colours.  Need to see more of them (in good light).

The evening ended with a very pleasant sunset. ...

Three new species for me... on a school night!!!

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