With Thanks to the Dentist

On Wednesday evening I started to get a toothache so yesterday I called to see if i could get an emergency appointment. Fortunately for me they had one at 11:15 this morning. My original intention had been to return to work after the appointment but a Pallas’s Warbler at Abingdon in Oxfordshire which is around thirty miles away changed my mind. I went into work a little earlier than usual (02:30) so I could get what needed to be done finished and headed straight to Abingdon from the dentist. Abingdon is not a place that I know but the satnav got me to unusually named Peep-O-Day Lane which leads to the sewage works where the bird was. Surprisingly this isn’t the only road with this name in the UK, there is another in Dundee. I parked the car and after a few minutes walk alongside the STW I found a few birders and toggers looking for the bird. It had recently been seen and was associating with a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. After a couple of minutes a small flock of birds appeared but they were Goldfinches. Then a couple of tits appeared and almost immediately the Pallas’s was seen. It was quite easy to pick out as it was frequently hovering as it moved from branch to branch. Despite the poor light excellent views were had as it and the tits moved through the trees. The best views were had from the playing field side, the downside of this was that the grass was covered by three to four inches of water, as I hadn’t thought to change into wellies I was pleased that my work boots were in good condition and didn’t leak. Someone called a Firecrest but unsurprisingly there wasn’t a lot of interest although I did have a half-hearted look for it. After a couple of minutes the flock moved on and as I was happy with the views I had of what was only my second Pallas’s Warbler I headed back to the car. The main reason I didn’t hang a round was that I wanted to go to Thrupp Lane Radley to try for a Ring-necked Duck. Another new site for me and again the satnav got me there with no problem. On getting to the side of the lake I joined another birder who had not yet seen the duck. THere were a few tufties around the islands along with Pochard, Shoveler and Teal. A Little Grebe swam into view but still no sign of the target bird. I decided to move along the path a bit and from the new vantage point soon picked the bird out. I remember the first time I had seen one and how worried I had been that I would be able to identify it amongst the tufties. However as before it stood out well with the grey flanks ad more upright stance. Despite it being on the far-side of the water great views were had. it was then time to head home, well pleased with getting both of my target birds.

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