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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Long- tailed Duck on Benacre Broad

Thanks to Jane's tweet I headed straight off to park just before Covehithe Church and eventually found a space after someone had rather rudely nicked the space I intended reversing into! I eventually parked next to PJ's car. I walked down to the Broad and could see a lot of water had drained out, I could also see a winter- plumaged Black- tailed Godwit and Paul & Jane on the beach and on a small channel of water, I could see the excellent female Long- tailed Duck. She had a dark blackish back and cap blackish spot on the ear coverts, a blue grey bill and brownish eye with black pupil. Otherwise the plumage was a pale white colour. It was really good to spend some time with this bird, this species had been distinctly scarce during the last few years, the one that flew past and north at Ness Point last year was my first for several years. This individual is the first chance I have had to photograph this species. She spent a lot of her time swimming around a wiry junk piece sticking out of the water, Jane jokingly said Carl had tied the bird to it. It appeared he head because the LT Duck spent a lot of time here, always swimming round it in an anti- clockwise direction. Initially she didn't dive very much, but when she did using fieldcraft, I was able to get in position by the last ridge. She spent time swimming to the right of us in a channel to the sea and then back by the junk and then finally when OFB arrived even closer and just left of us. As we watched some 4 Sanderling wandered up the broad edge towards us giving great views and photographic opportunities before the lead one no doubt seeing us checked its progress, turned and ran back and out of sight. The Long- tailed Duck showed really well until the wind blew my Scilly cap off and the female Long- tailed Duck flew short way left (note to self on a windy day in winter where a woolly hat!), first mingling with Mallards before swimming back again. We left as Danny P and family arrived with their digiscoping equipment. In the afternoon, I had a quick look with Jenny at Corton Woods, I heard the Firecrest call and another Crest answer it nearby, but in the 5 minutes I was allowed there I couldn't see either bird.

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