An American in Wales and an Australian in Wells!

Today I was travelling from Cardiff to my Mum’s house in Church Stretton, and – as I had a bit of spare time and it was a reasonably dry day – I decided to do a couple of stops on the way. The first was to a small group reservoirs just north of Newport where there had been reports of a drake ring-necked duck.

This is an American species and though there are a handful of legitimate sightings in the UK each year there are many that are likely escapes from wildfowl collections. I don’t know about this one, but it’s a species I have only seen once before (in Scotland last spring) and if it’s free-flying then I’m happy to add it to my year list.

So I got to the reservoirs and started scanning them. There were plenty of tufted ducks (quite similar to ring-necked duck), a couple of mute swans, little and great crested grebes, along with coots and moorhens. And there was the male ring-necked duck, actually very conspicuous in the sunlight despite being a little distant.

A distant, though recognisable, photo of today’s ring-necked duck

I then got a second new species for 2023 when several swallows spent a few minutes flying over the reservoir.

My final stop of the day before arriving at Church Stretton was a short visit to an RSPB woodland reserve in the Forest of Dean: Though I didn’t add any new species to the year list whilst there it was good to visit a reserve I’ve not been to before, and it’s clear that if I get back there later this spring there’s a good chance I’ll see birds like redstart and pied flycatcher.

water carpet

Finally here are the answers to the flower quiz that Brenda set yesterday: chickweed, common field speedwell, ground ivy, groundsel, red deadnettle.

New species for April 6th:
Birds: swallow, ring-necked duck
Moths: light brown apple, water carpet