‘Buffle-what?’ ‘Is that even a bird?’ - Two of the responses this morning when – at least for the very earliest visitors – the news was shared that yesterday’s female bufflehead was still on Wath Ings.

Here’s what else was seen today…

It’s strange to think of it now, but collared doves only began breeding in the UK sixty-odd years ago. There’ll be plenty of older people who remember a time without them. More recently, plenty of new bird species have found a home here, some through colonisation, others because they were held in private collections and escaped.

The bufflehead could be another. It is a type of sea duck. It is small and usually found on the coasts of North America and the Southern USA. In the breeding season, it gives up the coast and heads to wooded lakes, large ponds, that kind of thing. And though the duck is very striking, the drake is very, very handsome indeed.

So, yesterday, when Ian Morris and Adam Hutt spotted a female bufflehead first on the Wader Scrape and then flying to the Mere, we were all a bit surprised (Probably none more so than Ian and Adam!)

The duck in question from Ian Morris. Thanks Ian

This year there have been quite a few sightings of bufflehead already: Rutland Water; Lincolnshire; Cambridgeshire; Potteric Carr; Fairburn Ings. All females. This, if the same bird, would suggest a very mobile duck looking for her drake! Either way it set me wondering if, in some not-too-distant future, whether there might be beautiful buffleheads among the mallard, teal, gadwall and shoveler.

Before I could think how I felt about that, the bird moved on, leaving Wath Ings while it was still early.

“You ain’t seen me, snipe?”

There were of course plenty of other things to see at Old Moor today but the biggest surprise (literally) was a sighting of a roe deer, grazing on the meadow beside the car park! Hmm, I can’t remember the last time we had a deer sighting on the reserve.

Needless to say, it too didn’t hang around long and was last seen heading toward the Trans Pennine Trail.

Avocet at Wombwell Ings today

So, how can I top all that and finish off tonight’s ramblings? Luckily, Mary Wilde visited Old Moor today and provided the solution. We’ve not heard much from them for a while, but Mary spotted four bearded tit on the Reedbed Trail today. Thanks Mary.

Until next time.

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