Checking the lake again yesterday:
Long staying Ring-necked Duck: Check
Long staying Goldeneye: Check
Long staying Whopper Schwan: Check
And a lovely female Scaup fresh in... or was it? As it approached the tufties, I could see it was small, and had a distinctly peaked hind crown. Could it be? Probably, maybe, possibly...?
Scaup wouldn't even be a year tick... but Lesser Scaup, now that would be a full fat patch tick.
The flock was a bit distant for shots, but I did my best and pedalled the ropey results around some of the well respected "proper birders" in the county. Consensus was that it looked good, but that it really needed a wing-flap or flight shot to clinch it.
So there I was, first thing this morning, back on patch freezing my 'nads off waiting for the irksome wee fucker to flap its wings. Which it refused to do.
Thankfully, just as I was about to give up and go home, a helpful buzzard flew over the lake flushing the entire flock.
Bingo! Bird clinched, new patch tick secured, and who knows, perhaps even a potential contender for Ol' Snowy down the track.
So along with the five (count 'em) Sand Martians over the lake when Seppy turned up to twitch my duck, and the oodles of Manxies (plus an untickable but still very cool Basking Shark) yesterday takes me to a healthy 72.95% for the year.
Almost as good as the Lesser Scaup was the Merlin that dived over the hedge and across the road in front of the car on the way home to The Mall this morning, bringing the tally there to 66.38% and, crucially, knocking Seppy back off the podium.