Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Fulmar at Wilstone

On Thursday 5th April 2012 there had been a report of a Fulmar Petrel at Wilstone Reservoir. I was at Amwell at the time photographing the pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and, in any case, didn't really expect the Fulmar to hang around. However, at 7.30am the next morning I received a phone call from Joan Thompson to say that the Fulmar was still there. I therefore decided to go over and try my luck. I was only 5 minutes away from Wilstone when another call from Joan sadly informed me that the Fulmar had been picked up and was on it's way to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

Sadly these inland seabirds are usually the result of wrecks at sea which both exhausts and disorientates them and, once inland, few survive. It was of course only a couple of months ago that there was a Storm Petrel at College Lake which was killed by crows. However, I was now at Wilstone Reservoir on a lovely sunny day and decided that a walk round to the jetty was the order of the day.

Great Crested Grebes are now in full breeding plumage and, at Wilstone, they fortunately like diving close to the shelving banks. By walking round to the east bank I was able to get the light in a more favourable position and take a few shots.

As I approached the southeast corner of the reservoir I could see a duck sitting on a ledge under the end of the jetty. A quick look through the bins showed that it was.....a male Mandarin!! A concrete-lined reservoir is hardly the place you would expect to find these when they usually prefer lakes with plenty of overhanging trees. As I approached the end of the jetty and peered over the edge there, just a few feet below me, were a pair of Mandarins, obviously fairly tame. Apparently, they had been there for about a week.

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