February 11, 2006

Yankee Wigeon doodle dandy

The American Wigeon evaded us last weekend at the Ouse Washes, but we finally caught up with him today, at Needingworth gravel pits (photo left).

Boy, was it worth it.

Today's twitch wasn't straightforward. We arrived at the site, parked by the road and bumped into some fellow twitchers on their way out. They'd seen the American Wigeon 'but there ent no Smew or 'owt'. And the wigeon had flown off towards the river (Great Ouse) 15 minutes earlier.


Undaunted, we carried on. We walked right round to the far side of the lake and viewed the river. A flock of Wigeon was visible (distantly) on the water, with some more on the meadows, but picking out the American at that range wasn't going to be possible.

As we went back to view the lake again, the flock got up and landed in front of us. A few seconds later, we were watching a gorgeous drake American Wigeon. Got to be the most beautiful bird I've seen this year... pinky body, iridescent green behind the eye, cream reaching from above the bill towards the back of his head.

A bird worth getting excited about.

Not like the two Pink-footed Geese hanging around with the Greylags, which must surely be of dubious origin (similar to the Bar-headed Goose and Canada x Greylag hybrid also there).

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