I had a really enjoyable fews days' birding around the Peterborough area over the weekend. It was clear from a check of the BirdGuides news page that things were on the move, and so it proved locally.
Though I was working on Friday, I was able to sneak out early and late to find that the Long-tailed Duck was still present on my old patch, Baston & Langtoft Pits, while 10 Whooper Swans, three Pink-footed Geese and a couple of Barn Owls were also pleasing. At Bainton Pits, I had a couple of redhead Smew, while my first Little Ringed Plover of the year was on excavations east of West Deeping.
I did a complete sweep of BLGP on the Saturday morning, finding a Little Ringed Plover new in among the Ringed Plovers, as well as singles of Dunlin and Green Sandpiper. It almost goes without saying that the Long-tailed Duck was still present. Later in the afternoon, I popped over to Tallington Lakes. Unfortunately, development work here involving the installation of dozens of mobile homes seems to be making a pig's ear of the main site. I fear that it's best days might be behind it. Fortunately, though, a couple of smaller pits remain undisturbed and held good numbers of Tufted Ducks and 11 Red-crested Pochards. Highlight, though, were a pair of sleepy 2cy female Greater Scaup - nice!
I started Sunday at BLGP, and was immediately greeted by the delightful sight and sound of 32 Whooper Swans on the wader pit. Brilliant! Groups of 12 and two Dunlins moved through and the Long-tailed Duck remained. A little later, on the south side of the complex, I was thrilled to come across an adult Kittiwake sat among the Black-headed Gull colony - what a start to the day! This is a genuinely rare bird locally, and also hard to catch up with. I had a couple of records at the pits in the 2000s, but they were always fly-through, so to see one on the deck was a real treat. It also generated a mini local twitch, with four carloads in attendance only 30 minutes after discovery.
Checking news, it was clear that Common Scoter were on the move, so at lunch I headed over to Peterborough to check some of the old brick pits. First port of call was Fletton Brick Pit, which had next to nothing on it. But it was a case of second time lucky, as a scan of Beeby's A15 Brick Pit produced four distant, dark blobs with rather long, stiff tails. No doubt Common Scoters, and rather sleepy ones at that. These were duly twitched by Mike Weedon and John Saunders, before I headed over to the nearby CEGB Reservoir and came across ... another drake Common Scoter!
I finished the day at Deeping High Bank (Marsh Harrier) and Deeping Lakes (Yellow-legged Gull and the resident drake Greater Scaup), before becoming victim of a hit-and-run with a motorbike - the less said about that, the better.