I headed off to the Theale area with the hope of seeing the rarer Ducks that have been present since the end of last year, my thinking was to see the long staying Red-crested Pochards, Scaup and Ferruginous Duck to start off my year list and before they departed.
I arrived at Wigmore Lane gravel pits and met Roy Rose and we made our way to the lake they currently inhabit, We soon found the 2 male & 1 female Red-crested Pochards and shortly after the male Greater Scaup behind the Island but there was no sign of the female Ferruginous Duck. We decided to search for the Ferruginous and headed off towards some of the other lakes encountering a number of Tit flocks one including a single Siskin and a single Bullfinch amongst 9 Long-tailed Tit. On the furthest Lake we found a large flock of Greylag Geese, Shoveler and 3 female Goosanders which departed 5 mins later, sadly there was no sign of the Ferruginous Duck.
We headed off to Searles Lane gravel pits next and as we walked towards the pits a flock of 40+ Siskin flew from the Alders overhead, they flew tightly together calling as they flew further down the path. The Black-necked Grebe was still present and was feeding on the far side of the southern lake close to the reeds. Ken Moore & Roger Stanfield joined us and we scanned the Gulls on the pits, Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser & Great Black-backed Gull all present, local birder and finder of rare ducks Ken Moore soon found Yellow-legged Gull but no sign of the Caspian Gull that was seen earlier. A pair of Egyptian Geese were present along with Goldeneye.
We stopped off at Theale main pit and met Ken Moore & Ken Spring who let us know that the Ferruginous Duck was again visible at Wigmore Lane, a quick scan of the main pit where 2 Peregrines were perched on the pylon, a male on the right side of the pylon and a female which was sat next to a nest at the top of the pylon.
Back to Wigmore we headed and met up again with Ken Moore who showed us where the female Ferruginous Duck was, she was asleep on the far side of the pit until she slowly drifted towards the island.
Added To My Year List 2008.
39. Greater Scaup
40. Red-crested Pochard
57. Yellow-legged Gull
58. Black-necked Grebe
61. Peregrine Falcon
64. Ferruginous Duck