These days its takes something special to get me out of bed before dawn on a working day. But the arrival of a red crested pochard not far from my chosen place of toil at Cwmbran Boating Lake was sufficent to motivate an early rise. While most of working Gwent was considering another duvet day due to further covering of the 'white stuff ' I was on my way to a birding venue that hitherto had featured little to stir the cockles of a birders heart.
Arriving at the waters edge while it was still dark is not recommemded for good views or personal safety but eventually the target species emerged from the winters gloom. There tucked in amongst about 100 mallard was the 'boating lake beauty' a pristine male red crested pochard. Whether its a native bird in from the continent or one of Britains established feral population is anyone's guess. Checking the birding websites there appears to have been a few around recently including one in west Wales and another at Penarth so maybe, when considering the prevailing weather conditions, it was in from mainland Europe. Whatever its origin, apart from a bird seen briefly at Llanwern in 2008 no red crested pochard had been recorded in the county since 2002.
Checkout photos of the 'boating lake beauty' at weekendbirder.blogspot.com.