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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Arctic Snap

Venturing out early morning on Saturday 18th, it was a little bit nippy with 4 inches of snow on the ground and the thermometer reading  -7C. I arrived at Leathes Ham at Normanston Park in the hope of seeing yesterday's Fudge duck, sadly the water had completely iced over and on the second pool a small area of water was just visable but packed by a load of duck including Wigeon and a male Pintail but no Ferruginous Duck, a pity.
Walking over to the bridge overlooking Lake Lothing amongst a group of Tufted Duck was a female Scaup, a later look from here in the company of Andrew E also revealed a female Goldeneye flying in and a distant female Red- breasted Merganser. A kingfisher shot past it flying right.
At Hamilton Dock, initially no sign of the Gull but looking out to sea from the old Coastguards area revealed a movement of north of some 20 Red- throated Divers and a Velvet Scoter fflying south.
Back at Hamilton Dock, the newly arrived Andrew E and Chris D were looking down on the "beach" area and in my haste to reach them I almost fell over on the treacherous ice.
The 1st winter Iceland Gull was swimming in the water just off the beeach before standing on the beach edge only to take to flight and fly off when Andrew threw some bread out. The Iceland flew over to the distant sandy beach/ spit where it was in the company of other Gulls including an adult Caspian Gull brilliantly picked out by Andrew. The Caspian showed a slightly darker grey back (Common Gull grey back coloured) white head with a small black eye, longer more attenuated bill and slightly longer pale white rather than pink legs. It also showed a bulging white breast as it stood on the beach.

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