Thursday, 16 September 2021

Draycote Water :: 12 September 2021

A ruddy shelduck has been present at Draycote Water since mid-August but had been elsewhere on the water when I visited, searching for a visiting ferruginous duck that had already departed. The ruddy shelduck was still being reported and so it was about time I made an effort to connect.

I set off but the site doesn't open too early and so it wasn't until 8.25am that I set out from the car park - I'd paid for 2hrs of parking and hoped I'd be able to find the bird by then. I reached the reservoir perimeter and started an anti-clockwise rotation. Within a couple of tens of meters, I scanned back along the shore beyond the Visitor's Centre and found the ruddy shelduck resting on the water's edge. I retraced my steps and approached to take a couple of photos, the bird perched on one leg - it wasn't at all phased.

Ruddy shelduck

So now I had logged the bird with 5 minutes I wondered what to do next, deciding to make a quick full clockwise rotation in the hope that I'd find something of note. I counted little egrets as I went and had a total of 16; they were quite mobile and there could have been more. In the trees by Biggin Bay I heard a jay call above me and stopped to investigate - I could see the bird but obscured by branches and foliage. As I watched, a treecreeper dropped into a tree beside and I then heard great spotted woodpecker behind - both the GSW and jay both flew and I had views of both but wasn't able to get a photo record.

Although I spotted 34 species there was nothing else to highlight and noted that I'd eventually on my wanderings covered 5.5 miles - it is not like me to keep up that pace. The ruddy shelduck was feeding in front of the Visitor's Centre on my return and I could resist another snap. I was happy to have seen it but slightly disappointed by the lack of new species despite large numbers on the water and water's edge. Next time.

Ruddy sheelduck

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