Ferruginous Duck & Scaup - Wigmore Lane GP, Theale, Berks. 18th November 2007.
With Lesser & Greater Scaup, Red-crested Pochard all being present in the Theale area of Berkshire over the last few weeks the news that local birder Ken Moore had found a Ferruginous Duck put the icing on the cake. The female was found at Wigmore Lane gravel pits on the 15th Nov and is a very good record for Berkshire. I was dying to get over and see it and decided that if it was still present Saturday i would go and have a look for it, sadly on Saturday it was seen early morning flying off and couldn't be relocated, i decided to wait till Sunday and have another go. Sunday arrived and although the weather was terrible i made my way over to Theale. On arrival at the Wigmore lane gravel pits www.berksbirds.co.uk webmaster Marek Walford was viewing the Ferruginous Duck which was feeding on the far side of the lake, she was staying close to the reeds on the northern bank often diving for short periods then returning to the surface whilst speedily making her way round behind the island and towards the eastern side of the pit. Marek told me the 1st Winter Scaup was still present on the eastern side and after we said our goodbyes i headed off to look for it. As i walked round the path 5 Egyptian Geese flew overhead shortly followed by 3 Canada Geese. As i approached the eastern side of the lake i found the 1st winter Scaup preening and stopped to watch it, another great find by Ken Moore first seen with the Ferruginous Duck on the 15th. I was busy watching the Scaup as it preened and suddenly saw the Ferruginous go through my scope lens, i watched it swim past until it stopped at the edge of the centre island. Here she remained for at least 5 minutes preening and taking a couple of dives underwater, i got some good views especially of the white undertail-coverts that were hard to see when she was on the far side of the pit. As the light started to fade and the rain become more intense i decided to leave and head for home, back at the car 2 Goldcrests were calling as they flitted through the trees above me.