Plastic Ducks!

March 13th 2010
Off to Dorset today with a special duck in mind.
A 1:30 am start saw us (myself, Robert Williamson & Charlie Dobbs) at the Moonfleet Manor hotel, west of Weymouth by first light. Not much to see on the journey down except a Tawny Owl nearly took the paint off the car roof.
From the hotel car park we walked west for a few minutes and there it was... a fantastic drake Bufflehead. The bird swam and fed happily on the south side of The Fleet allowing some poor photographs and video. Also present were roughly 40 Red Breasted Mergansers but I didn't think I should tick the 7 Black Swans.
We then travelled to Radipole Lake where the Hooded Merganser put on a great show. We also had the surreal experience of watching Cetti's Warbler singing from bushes in Curry's and McDonalds car park!
Well, it all went to pot after that. We decided to travel to the New Forest to see the Great Grey Shrike, or rather, NOT see the afore mentioned shrike. Lots of Common Buzzards and a few Sparrowhawks but no shrike; until we left, that is.
The drive back gave us so many Buzzards that I lost count. The journey also gave us 17 Red Kites, 7 between Newbury and Oxford and 10 between Thrapston and Peterborough.
We stopped at Eldernel briefly, there were small numbers of both Bewicks and Whooper Swans present alongside huge numbers of other wildfowl.
Just a word on a new garden tick before I finish. A drake Mandarin took up temporary residence for an hour or so. Great bird for the centre of King's Lynn.