An effort to find a wintering green-winged teal was thwarted by winds and a hungry peregrine, flushing the teal repeatedly, but the sight of thousands of teal, wigeon and many snipe all probing the marsh edges, and lapwings displaying already, all provided a fine winter spectacular.
13:45-15:30: Ham Wall, Avalon Marshes, Somerset (51.151661, -2.780074)
A long search for the drake Ferruginous Duck, which seems to have haunted this area for some years now, drew a blank, however I had excellent views of a drake Ring-necked Duck frequenting a long channel at the GPS point above, typically in the company of tufted ducks. In 2011, I watched a drake ferruginous duck drop into a wetland in the Avalon Marshes in June, and, in 2004, breeding was probable in Avon. With global warming, it may well be that one day this smart duck comes to join our growing assembly of reed-bed birds in summer.
16:00-16:30: Stratford Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Avon (51.333274, -2.630289)
With one duck up and one duck down, an attempt to see a wintering Lesser Scaup on this large and choppy water body in poor light wasn’t the best idea, however I did pick out a smart drake Scaup and two females in the fading light.