Despite the bitterly cold northerly wind and having no idea about tide times I headed off to Hook with Warsash in the hope that the reported Long-tailed Duck, that has given close views, would still be present. I arrived at 1450 to find the tide completely out. The only open water was that provided by the narrow, meandering channel that discharges freshwater from Hook Lake via the sluice. Having always seen Long-tailed Duck on open bodies of water I did not expect to find the Long-tailed Duck in the channel but it was – less than 50m away!
For a few minutes the bird dived for food amongst several Wigeon before it took flight for some unapparent reason. Although it always remained over the mud it initially headed in an easterly direction towards land before turning about to eventually land back in the channel beside the sluice. The central dark line down the otherwise white rump and tail was very prominent in flight. Now even closer the bird continually dived for food progressively moving seaward down the channel.
Also present along the channel were a couple of Mute Swan (one with a metal ring), a Redshank, c40 Wigeon and a year tick in the form of a single Rock Pipit. Also worthy of note on the offshore side of Hook Spit were 13 Ringed Plover amongst c80 Dunlin and a number of Herring Gull, Common Gull and Carrion Crow that were dropping shellfish from height onto an exposed offshore shingle bank.
For a couple of photographs of the Long-tailed Duck see Steve’s earlier entry.
Tony Tindale BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)