As we had meeting to discuss water management on the farm this afternoon, I decided to have a quick check of one of the irrigation ponds. Although the ponds occasionally attract interesting wildfowl, I had low expectations with Little Grebe or Tufted Duck about the best I was hoping for. As I got out of the car a Grey Wagtail was a nice surprise as this species is surprisingly scarce on the farm. However, on reaching the pond itself I was amazed to find a drake Long-tailed Duck swimming about. This is a species which spend most of its time at sea, and often a significant distance offshore at that. So, to see one swimming about on a small irrigation pond was a delightful surprise. Unfortunately the gloomy conditions did not make for good photography, so the record shots below are the best I could manage.
During the meeting it was pleasing to find a flock of at least 220 Lapwing. These birds are newly returned to the farm after disappearing during the recent snowy conditions. Also present were eight Wigeon, a drake Pintail and a small flock of Fieldfare.