ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Birding Trip Report: Marbled Duck at Grimley, Worcestershire 27/08/2018

Updated on August 28, 2018
I never managed to get a decent photo of what was a very elusive bird, so here is a Marbled Duck as captured by a professional.
I never managed to get a decent photo of what was a very elusive bird, so here is a Marbled Duck as captured by a professional. | Source

To Go Or Not To Go?

Yesterday evening (26/08/17) upon my return from a successful Stilt Sandpiper twitch at Frampton Marsh. A report came through of a juvenile Marbled Duck that had appeared at a body of water known as Camp Lane Pits, near the village of Grimley in rural Worcestershire. Normally, when such a report comes through, I dismiss it as an escapee. However, this particular bird was un-ringed, wary and unwilling to come too close to human observers. Furthermore, as a juvenile the timing of its appearance couldn't have been more perfect. This is the time of a year when many young Wildfowl are dispersing from their nest sites to find homes of their own. In my mind at least it seemed perfectly plausible that a bird, native to southern Spain, albeit in small numbers could have found its way to Worcestershire. Even so, upon digesting the report, the rational part of my brain told me that there was very little chance of this bird being accepted as wild.

Marbled Ducks you see, are a popular feature of private wildfowl collections, and apparently even captive individuals can be wary. Even so, a bird of captive origins would surely possess a ring of some sort. I decided to take the gamble and pay this bird and Grimley a visit.

A Bad Start

The day of the trip didn't start off particularly well. As I went about my usual morning task of feeding the garden birds. I was alarmed to discover an injured Feral Pigeon cowering behind the garden door. It was in a bad way with a sizeable chunk of its left wing missing. My next door neighbour keeps Pigeons, so my initial thought was that it was one of his that had perhaps been attacked by either a Cat or Raptor. He had a look at the bird and informed me that it definitely wasn't his, and also it had likely been injured either by a Sparrowhawk or Peregrine Falcon. With a grave look on his face, he affirmed that the best thing I could was to put it out of its misery. He did suggest taking it to a local rescue centre though, to see what they could do. I wanted to save the bird, so I went for the latter option.

However, upon arrival at the rescue center, I was dismayed to find it closed due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. Struggling to think of alternative options, I opened up the box to check on the bird. It was drifting in and out of consciousness, getting weaker and weaker. In a flash, I remembered that there was another rescue center a few miles, so made my way there with great haste. However, the staff there informed that they tend to deal more with re-homing pets as they have no vets on site. Furthermore, they reiterated what my neighbor had said about putting the bird out of its misery. I was out of options now, there was no way I could look after it at home, so I had no alternative but to simply find a quiet spot and simply release it so it could die peacefully. With a heavy heart, I left the poor bird to its fate.

Where is Grimley?

A
Grimley:
Grimley, Worcester WR2 6LU, UK

get directions

The Trip

As I prepared for the trip to Grimley, I kept reassuring myself that I tried my best for the Pigeon, but it failed to have the desired effect. Even so, the company of my girlfriend, her dog and my Jack Russell did raise my spirits a little bit. Piling into her car, we all set off in search of the Marbled Duck.

Getting to Grimley itself is fairly routine. Just a short venture southwards from Birmingham down the M5 before veering off towards Droitwich, and then following the A4133 towards Holt Fleet and then making a left down the A443 towards Grimley. The village itself is little known in wider circles, but to Midlands birders its well known for its two sets of gravel pits located at opposite ends of the village. At the north end lie the Wagon Wheel Lane Pits, so named after a local pub. Last year, I paid the Wagon Wheel Lane Pits a visit after hearing reports of an American Wigeon that had set up home there. At the opposite end of the village, in the south lie the Camp Lane Pits, so named after the adjacent single track road.

Upon entering the village, we turned left at a T-junction, which took us down Camp Lane, past the pits towards The Camp House Inn. A quaint looking place, complete with locals sat outside all directing their glares at us, as I removed my telescope from the car. Walking north back up the road, we bumped into another birder who kindly gave us precise instructions of where exactly the bird was. As the road wound round to the right, we passed through a gate, into a field, and there they were, Camp Lane Pools right in front of us. On the opposite side to us, we spied a group of birders, so elected to head towards them.

About halfway round though, we lost sight of the path due to the fact that much of the vegetation was overgrown. So I offered to scout ahead and get a sense of the lie of the land. As I turned back, I heard my girlfriend shouting my name over and over again. My dog, Marley had inadvertently disturbed a Wasp nest and all hell broke loose. Before I knew what was happening dozens of Wasps were stinging my girlfriend, our two dogs and a couple even got me, as I tried to swat them away. We did eventually manage to escape the swarm, but the incident had left us shaken and I offered to abandon the trip, as I was especially worried about my girlfriend. She didn’t look very well, and neither did her dog.

However, after a brief rest she seemed to determine to push on, and after a dip in a nearby stream, both dogs seemed restored to full health. We wandered down a causeway towards the group of birders we had seen earlier. But I decided to keep my distance, purely because we had the dogs with us and did not wish to cause any disturbance. It was only now, that I was able to fully appreciate the diversity of bird life at the Pools, with Sand Martins darting about low over our heads, a parade of Great Cormorants all perched on a half submerged fence and a number of Little Egrets foraging close to the reed-beds. I manage to locate the Marbled Duck on the far side, foraging peacefully close to a Common Snipe, but in my rather confused and disorientated state, I then lost site of the bird and when I thought I’d relocated it for a photo, I was instead looking at a Eurasian Teal. I wouldn’t realize my error until later, when I posted some pictures on Twitter and a couple of birders correctly pointed it out.

The only decent picture of a bird that I managed to get at Grimley- a Northern Lapwing.
The only decent picture of a bird that I managed to get at Grimley- a Northern Lapwing. | Source
The first of a series of vista shots of Camp Lane Pits at Grimley
The first of a series of vista shots of Camp Lane Pits at Grimley | Source
Source
Source
Source

Learning A Lesson

All birders make mistakes at times when it comes to ID, even so you cannot help but feel slightly embarrassed whenever you make one, especially concerning a common species like an Eurasian Teal. I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony that not so long ago I had successfully picked out a rare Green-winged Teal from in among a flock of Eurasian Teals. What seemed particularly embarrassing about this incident was that I had initially correctly identified the Marbled Duck, only then to mistaken it for an Eurasian Teal when I tried to relocate it for a photo. Upon reflection, given what had happened en route, and the emotional state we were in, I should have abandoned the trip. My girlfriend had had a full on panic attack whilst under the swarm, and concern for her health overshadowed any enjoyment of the bird I could have had.

We didn’t stay for long and still feeling rather shaken and disorientated we trudged back to the car. I offered to drive back, just so my girlfriend and the dogs could rest. Once home, there was plenty of Anthisan available to treat the stings, and fortunately they weren’t as bad as first feared. Even so, I reflected upon what had been a unusual day, the likes of which we hopefully won’t have to experience too often.

© 2018 James Kenny

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Yes indeed. We were also fortunate that it was only a relatively small swarm. The lesson is to always take some insect repellent with you if you're in the countryside.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Getting attacked by a swarm of bees is no laughing matter. You are fortunate that you, your girlfriend, and your dogs did not suffer lasting effects.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Tell me about it Liz and it turns out that the duck is probably an escapee because another one has turned up on a golf course nearby in Great Malvern so can't even say it was worth it.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      This is a well-written article. You couldn't make up a series of events like that. It certainly was an eventful day.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)