Felt much better this morning. Not 100%, far from it, but a definite improvement. Thought I would take a chance and visit Dosthill Lake to see if the Long Tailed Duck that had been there all week was still in residence?
As is usual with my luck in these situations, it would probably have left yesterday after "showing well" to all and sundry. I really wanted this tick. The fact I was about to tackle cardiac hill while still not back at full fitness shows my enthusiasm to see this bird.
Wellies on, scope packed, trusty Plummer Terrier by my side and we set off from the car.
Cardiac hill is deceiving. It looks and feels like nothing special on the way down. It's coming back you feel the burn.
Anyway, in the twilight as we strolled toward the lakes, we were treated to some spectacular views of a Barn Owl hunting and then taking some time out to perch not more than 50 yards away. I felt it was still too dark to attempt a picture, so we just watched for a while. Eventually, it resumed the hunt and disappeared from sight. So Taz and I resumed our own duck hunt.
We made straight for the nature reserve pits and I set the scope up and started scanning. No luck! We moved to several different vantage points, still no luck! I scanned the reed line for a bonus Bittern (clutching at straws) no luck there either. What I did notice were a couple of anglers hiding in the far bank reeds, no self respecting Bittern would be in there with them.
John texted me to ask if I had found it. I phoned him to tell him no, it was looking like a big fail.
During the call, John informed me the Long Tailed Duck was actually not on the lakes I was looking at, but the Jet Ski lake. He told me where he had twice seen it earlier in the week, and we were off again. Cheers John!
After a hour of scanning the Ski lake I was about to give it up as a bad job. Suddenly, something caught my eye in the distance through the scope and promptly disappeared from sight. I could be in here? I lifted the scope and headed off for a better and closer vantage point. Again, it took a bit of finding, spending more time submerged than on the surface. Eventually, it stayed on top for about two minutes preening. Again, light was too poor to try for decent pictures. The best I got was this rubbish one, and it's terrible.
Cardiac hill didn't seem as daunting as usual as Taz and I tackled it at a leisurely pace. A very worthwhile morning. I will sleep well tonight. Taz has been asleep all day.