A Busy Twenty Four Hours A Rare Duck Cuba Optics Demo

Ring necked Duck head on 2

A drake Ring-necked Duck, this one we photograghed in Scotland.

On Friday, 8th March 2019, we drove down to Cambridge to give a talk to the Cambridge Bird Club. Our route was not straight forward as a drake Ring-necked Duck had been found in the Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire and we wanted to see this rare visitor from North America. Driving towards the lake, across moorland, the weather was awful, sleet and near freezing temperatures – not ideal. We arrived at Llyn Bran on the north side of Clocaenog Forest and the sleet was belting down, yuck, we managed to find somewhere to park overlooking the lake and braved the elements. It was hard to see with a howling wind and the sleet, we managed to see some Tufted Ducks, two Goldeneye and two Goosanders but no Ring-necked Duck and we were getting very wet and very cold! Add to that the time pressure we needed to get on the road towards Cambridge. Using the car as some shelter we scanned the grey water again with the Leica scopes and bingo! The drake Ring-necked Duck magically appeared in the middle of the lake, on its own, but there! Whew! No time to really study this handsome birds as we were cold, wet and behind schedule, but we had our duck. Hopefully this smart rarity will stay long enough for us to see it again for longer and in better weather.

Cuban Trogon male 2018 1

The spectacular Cuban Trogon one of the many endemic birds on this island.

That evening we gave our talk “Cuba – Endemic Birds and Classic Cars” to the lovely folk of the Cambridge Bird Club. It is always great fun to relive our birding adventures and Cuba is a wonderful destination with so much to talk about! We covered the amazing bird life of course, the Bay of Pigs invasion, food rationing for the locals, Havana architecture, bars, music and of course those amazing classic cars! The talk went down very well with lots of interesting questions at the end, always a good sign the audience liked the talk. Huge thanks to all that turned out on a wet cold night, we look forward to our next visit.

Next morning, Saturday 9th March, we headed back west from Cambridge, seeing several beautiful Red Kites over the A14, to Cheshire. We spent the day at Focalpoint Optics, Antrobus, Northwich at their Leica In Store Day. Great to meet so many lovely people and talk all things optics, birds and birding in the store. And the cakes were so, so good, all homemade by Yvonne from the shop, the kettle was on all day and it was a really warm welcome for everyone. Leica staff were on hand to offer technical advice and to service binoculars and telescopes for customers, all free of charge, and what a difference an expert service makes! All in all a great day and we look forward to continuing working with Focaloptics and Leica.

Back to North Wales and straight out for a friends Birthday party celebrations in Conwy, a lovely meal and lots and lots of laughs rounded off a busy time!

We would love to hear from you, be it enquiries about our Birdwatching Trips, booking a talk, questions about birds, birding or optics please email us here....


We look forward to hearing from you and sharing wonderful birds with you!

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