Eyeworth Pond near Fritham is always worth a visit. The birds are fed regularly and are nearly tame and there are always picture opportunities. This year there was the added bonus of a resident Wood Duck. It may well be an escapee but it is living in the wild, and it looks good, so it is worth a picture. What we hadn't realised was that there was a female on the pond as well. Next year we could be going back to photograph wild british born Wood Ducks.
If this happens you would have to question why their status should be any different to that of the british born Cranes from the reintroduction program.
|Female Wood Duck|
We did initially have a bit of confusion over the female. We had not expected to see it and she looks very similar to the Mandarin Duck female, picture below. However, she does shows the diagnostic darker head, more white around the eye, black nail, and different markings around the base of the bill.
They are quite different when you see the two side by side.
The male Mandarins were also in attendance and there was a small group of Goosanders, one male and four females but as ever they were keeping their distance. Still, not a bad slection of ducks for a small pond.
|Goosander with three of his four ladies|
We had started the day at Blashford Lakes. It's not one of our favourite sites but the Bramblings are reliable on the feeders outside the Woodland hide. I would have liked to put a picture of them on the blog but you could barely see them through the windows in the hide. The "glass" is badly scratched and fogged and you have difficulty making out any colours on the birds.
Brambling duly ticked we moved on. We did have a quick look out from the Tern Hide but the birds as usual were so far away it was almost like doing a sea watch. The Ivy North Hide does give you a good chance of seeing a Bittern but you have to look at it through heavily tinted blue glass. We gave that a miss. The site has so much potential but seems so poor on delivery.
Eyeworth Pond, however always delivers on the small birds as well as on the ducks and there is no blue glass to get in the way.
|Marsh Tit - white spot on upper mandible|
On the fields driving away from Fritham a flock of forty to fifty Redwings
Below a couple of shots from earlier in the week. A rather wet and bedraggled looking Great Grey Shrike at Waltham Brooks. A bit like me that day. He wasn't going anywhere but there was a lot of wet and sticky mud between me and him. I thought better of it and headed off to Arundel Wetland Centre for a cup of tea.
|Distant and rather wet Great Grey Shrike|
And the Wetland Centre delivered yet another good Kingfisher photo opportunity. There are at least two on the site and they appear very tolerant of people. The only problem is that they are attracting more and more photographers to the site. Good for the WWT funds but not so good if you want the bird to yourself.
|Arundel Wetland Centre - Kingfisher|