Posts Tagged ‘Eurasian Wigeon’

For our first outing of the new year, Keith and I visited the London Wetland Centre with the prospect of adding Bittern and Jack Snipe, two elusive species, to our new year lists.

On the entrance lakes we witnessed a fight between 2 Moorhens, presumably males, which was a clear sign that although the year had only just turned, the birds were getting ready for the new breeding season. Their way of fighting was to lay on the backs in the water and engage there feet as weapons. Most unusual sight, but to be honest it was a bit like posturing and eventually one bird swam off and no harm seemed to have come to either.

Moorhens fighting

 

Moving on into the reserve, Keith spotted a female Goldeneye from the first hide.

Common Goldeneye (f)

The usual winter visitors were present including Geese (3 species) and good numbers of Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall. A single Common Pochard was seen along with a few Mallard and Tufted Ducks.

Eurasian Wigeon

Greylag Goose

Gadwall

Away from the waterbirds, the morning was quiet, we had no luck finding Bittern, Jack Snipe, Fieldfares, Redwing or Siskins that had been reported the previous day. A Coal Tit on the feeders as we headed back to the visitors’ centre for a warming drink, was a pleasing sighting.

Suitably refreshed we set out on the west arm of the reserve. From the Wildside hide we found 4 Fieldfare and a pair of Stonechats. On Reservoir lake there were a pair of Northern Pintail.

Fieldfare. Photo by Hdera Baltica (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedera_baltica/)

With the light fading, we began to make our way back to the entrance stopping briefly at the Otter enclosure where the resident Grey Wagtail was present and very active. As we left the centre we saw a flock of birds alight in the top of a tree and closer inspection showed that this was the flock of Redwing.

Redwing

We may not have seen our target species but a good enjoyable days birdwatching nether the less.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)

Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Fieldfare. Photo by Hdera Baltica (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedera_baltica/)

 

A mild but overcast morning saw Keith and I at the London Wetland Centre in search of migrant birds that may have paused here on the way to their wintering grounds and winter visitors that have recently arrived.

dscn3503a

The lake by the entrance was uncharacteristically busy with Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Coot and Little Grebe present.

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Then it was onto the Grazing Marsh where there was a flock of European Wigeon along with a feeding Green Woodpecker.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

 

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

The star birds beyond doubt were 2 Jack Snipe which were found roosting on the marsh. These regular winter visitors to the centre are hard to see and we have missed them on a number of previous visits. ‘Oh if you were only here ten minutes ago, a Jack Snipe was sitting in the open’ has been the closest we have come in previous years, but now we were treated to extend and excellent views, one sitting next to a Common Snipe so we could the difference in size, plumage and bill.

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

 

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

After indulging ourselves on Jack Snipe we moved onto the North Lake. On the way we saw a fully winged Mandarin Duck, so not part of the collection.

Mandarin

Mandarin

Arriving at Wildside hide we searched for the Yellow Legged Gull that had been reported, but most of the gulls seem to have departed the reserve and so we were unsuccessful.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

A good day with the Jack Snipe being the star birds. So rare to see even when you know they are present, so a special moment.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

RSPB Pulborough Brooks in the Arun Valley

RSPB Pulborough Brooks in the Arun Valley

 

A chance to get out of London and spend a day with my local RSPB group at the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks. The reserve is situated in the Arun river valley in West Sussex and consists of the traditional flood meadows of the river together with an area of heathland and woodland. I have visited here before but only in the summer to look for, or perhaps more accurately listen, for Nightengales.

Heathland and Woodlands at Pulborough Brooks reserve

Heathland and Woodlands at Pulborough Brooks reserve

I started with a short walk in the woodland. There were plenty of common small birds around and I was pleased to find a Goldcrest in the tree-tops.

Robin

Robin

 

Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon

From here I proceeded down into the river valley. It was quickly clear that, as has been the case all winter, the numbers of waterbirds are down this year. Wigeon were the commonest species along with Shoveller and some Pintail and Teal made up the species of duck seen.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

 

Wading birds too were in low numbers, both in terms of species – only Lapwing and Snipe were seen, and in absolute numbers.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

In previous winters, this has been a place to see White-fronted Geese and Bewick’s Swans, but neither has been reported here recently and only Canada Geese with a single Greylag were present. Despite the apparent lack of birds I still saw 48 species, which is a reasonable total for a day and it was a crisp sunny winter’s day for a nice walk in lovely countryside.

DSCN0782a

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

 

Some more photos from the trip Keith and I made to the London Wetland Centre last Friday

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

 

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

 

Mandarin Duck (photo by Keith)

Mandarin Duck (photo by Keith)

 

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern

 

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

 

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

DSCN9879a

 

A chance for a day’s birdwatching and so Keith and I head off for the London wetland centre – Target species Bittern and Jack Snipe which have both been seen there recently. On arrival we make our way straight to the tower hide as this is the best place to see booth species. On the way we get a brief glimpse of a Chiffchaff, once a summer visitor but now more increasingly over-wintering. There are good numbers of wintering duck especially Wigeon and Shoveller on the grazing marsh.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

We are soon grateful that we are in a hide as a heavy rain shower passes through.

DSCN9862a

Good views are had of a group of Common Snipe on the grazing marsh but no sightings of either Bittern or Jack Snipe today.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

 

We head off to the other side of the reserve seeing Teal and Gadwall on the way.

Gadwall

Gadwall

 

But things are relatively quiet here too and only a large flock of Shoveller are on the Northern Lake.

Northern Shoveller

Northern Shoveller

The light is now going and so we head back to the reserve centre but on the way Keith spots a  Green Woodpecker silhouetted against the setting sun.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

As always a good days birdwatching even if our two target species eluded us this time

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

The final day of our Suffolk trip and we travel west to the Wildfowl and Wetlands reserve at Welney. This is a reserve famous for its wintering Swans, but which also play host to a number of wader species on their migration.

On arrival after a two hour drive we stop for refreshment in the café, but this reserve is so well designed that even from here you have a great chance of seeing good birds as it overlooks the newly formed Lady Fen. When I first started vsiting this reserve back in the 1980s this was all farm land, but now it has been transformed into a wetland habitat. From the windows there are excellent views of Goldfinches on the feeder station, whilst Little Egrets patrol the shallows.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Little Egret

Little Egret

In the distance a large flock of Golden Plover wheel across the sky.

The main reserve is a wetland created by the washes, a system designed to prevent the flooding of the surrounding low-lying agricultural fields. We tend to think of flood alleviation schemes as being a modern one but the washes system dates back to the 17th century when King Charles granted a charter to the Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to construct the two Bedford rivers to improve the drainage of the River Ouse. Today they are an important site for natural history and particularly for wintering wildfowl.

The washes at Welney

The washes at Welney

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Grey lag Goose

Grey lag Goose

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

Pochard

Pochard

Whoopwer Swan

Whoopwer Swan

Although it is only early March, most of the Swans have already left and begun their journey north to their breeding grounds. We are fortunate to find one remaining Bewicks Swan together with a dozen or so Whooper Swans present.

Also present on the islands are a good selection of wading birds – a large flock of over 100 Black-tailed Godwit together with a group of Snipe, some Redshank, two Common Sandpipers, a Ruffe and a Ruddy Turnstone.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Photo by K.Koshy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/)

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone
Photo by Andy Morffew (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andymorffew/)

A great days birdwatching but we have to make our way home.

Arriving home at 1800 we are greeted by the sound of our local Tawny Owl, the first time we have heard him this year, which is a perfect way to end the weekend.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Sue and I are taking a long weekend break in Suffolk. On the way we stop off at Abberton reservoir a nature reserve run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. I remember when there was just a basic wooden hide here but now there is a visitors centre complete with café. How times change! But the cup of tea and sandwich were very welcome before we set off to the hide on the edge of the reservoir. As we walk over the grassland we are serenaded by a Skylark as it makes its ascending song flight before plunging back to its perch on a fence post.

Abberton reservoir

Abberton reservoir

Abberton Resrvoir

Abberton Resrvoir

The reservoir is vast but there is a good selection of geese close to the hide. Canada. Greylag and Egyptian are present although there is no sign of the small flock of White-Fronted Geese which had been present a few days earlier.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Egyptian goose

Egyptian goose

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

There is also a good selection of duck feeding on the edges of the reservoir. Eurasian Wigeon are the commonest species present, but out on the reservoir itself there are a few Goldeneye.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

Goldeneye

Goldeneye [from archive]

Tucked in amongst the Wigeon we find a sleeping Pintail.

Drake Pintail sleeping amongst Eurasian Wigeon

Drake Pintail sleeping amongst Eurasian Wigeon

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gull

After walking back to the car park, again to the sound of the displaying Skylark its time to resume our journey to Suffolk.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

This morning saw Keith and I on our way to Staines Reservoir on the western edge of London. The reservoir, a large body of water divided by a central causeway, lies adjacent to Heathrow Airport. Our targets were wintering Great Northern Diver and Black-necked Grebes for which this is the only regular site in the London area.

Staines Reservoir (North)

Staines Reservoir (North)

Arriving at the eastern end of the causeway we begin to scan the large expanse of water and soon begin to get the common species. We have good views of Goldeneye and Wigeon which seem to be present in good numbers.

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Wigeon and Coot on side of Reservoir

Wigeon and Coot on side of Reservoir


From about half-way along the causeway Keith locates the diver on the western shore-line moving towards the causeway. Hopefully by the time we get to the western end it will have come closer to us. Our attempts at finding the Black-necked Grebe are fruitless and after a while we can no longer locate the diver either. Some other birders say they may have seen it fly off, perhaps disturbed by the workmen on the reservoir edge.

We make it to the western end of the causeway and scan the Little Grebes which tend to congregate here in case a Black-necked is amongst them but with no luck. We decide that rather than returning back across the causeway we will take a walk around the adjacent King George VI reservoir to an area known as Staines Moor. Although you can not enter the reservoir area a footpath runs around the base of the bank giving access to the land which lies between the reservoir and the M25 London orbital motorway.

Staines Moor

Staines Moor

As we approach the northern end of the Reservoirs, I see a bird of prey circling above the road. Imagining it to be a Common Buzzard, I am surprised when I get my binoculars on it and find it is in fact a Red Kite (A London first sighting for me). Keith is quicker off the mark with the camera and manages to get a shot of it before it drifts off out of sight over the reservoir edge.

Red Kite

Red Kite

Our walk around the north and down the west-side of the reservoir adds a number of woodland and grassland species including Redwing, Song Thrush, Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit.

Staines Moor

Staines Moor

We turn to retrace our steps back to Staines Reservoir and one last look as we re-cross the causeway to make our way home. Keith quickly re-locates the diver, now in the middle of the reservoir and giving much closer views (although still too far for photographs). We continue to observe it from a number of points as we cross.

Great Northern Diver (taken at Staines 2012)

Great Northern Diver (taken at Staines 2012)

Just before we reach the eastern end, Keith finds 2 Black-necked Grebes mid-way between the causeway and the southern edge of the reservoir and we watch them for a while.

Zampullin cuellinegro - Podiceps nigricollis - Black-necked Grebe - Cabussó coll-negre
Black-necked Grebe in winter plumage
Photo by Ferran Pestana (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ferranp/)

Then it is time to head back to Stanwall to begin our journey home.

Once again an excellent days birdwatching!

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Great Northern Loon (Gavia immer)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Off for a visit to the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes on the Thames estuary to the east of London.

DSCN5931a

The weather is dull and overcast although the sun occasionally breaks through as I begin my circuit of the reserve. The feeders by the visitor have good numbers of House Sparrows, a once common bird which has declined in recent years. I first go to the Purfleet hide to see the large group of waders which has gathered in front of it. These turn out to be Golden Plover and Lapwing.

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

Lapwing

Lapwing

In the woodland I come across a female Blackbird busily gorging herself on berries who seem oblivious to my presence.

Blackbird (f)

Blackbird (f)

The Reedbed is unusually quiet and the anticipated Water Rail does not materialise, but I can see plenty of birds out on the marsh so I proceed on to the Butts hide which has marsh on both sides. There are a huge number of Wigeon on the reserve and their whistling call can be heard from the walkway.

Wigeon

Wigeon

A lone pair of Common Pochard swim into view

Common Pochard (m)

Common Pochard (m)

On the Target pool to the west of the hide are a good collection of gulls whilst 2 Marsh Harriers hunt over the reedbed beyond. As I leave a croaking noise alerts me to one of Rainham’s resident Ravens as it passes over the marsh. Arriving again at the Purfleet hide a single Pied Avocet is soon located out on the marsh.

Pied Avocet

Pied Avocet

Looking alongside the hide I see a bird moving in the grass and closer inspection reveals it to be a Common Snipe which obligingly poses for photos before moving off.

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

Then back to the Visitors centre for a hot drink before commencing my journey home contented with a good days birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Northern Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Keith and I went off for a days birdwatching at the London Wetland centre.

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Our arrival was greeted by a party of Pied Wagtails at the entrance to the reserve and these were briefly joined by a Grey Wagtail, which was unfortunately flushed by a passer-by before we could get photos. We proceeded to walk the southern route first stoping at the hides on the way to the central tower hide. There were a good selection of species on show but none of the reserves specialities (Bittern, Jack Snipe, Water Rail) were visible.

Wigeon

Wigeon

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Gadwall

Gadwall

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Little Grebe

Little Grebe


Whilst in the tower hide we heard that a Bittern had been seen near the WWF hide and so we retraced our steps hoping to find it still on show, but alas no luck. Then it was off to the coffee shops for a cup of hot chocolate to drive out the effects of the biting wind before making our way along the northern side of the reserve. We continued to add species to the days list but still those specialities eluded us. We spent the last hour in the Wildside hide looking out over the reed bed in the hope of seeing a Bittern flying to roost but it was going to be one of those days although we were treated to the sight of the Ring-necked parakeets flying to roost as we made our way back to the centre in the the fading light.

DSCN5511a

DSCN5512a

A good days birdwatching nether the less with a total of over 40 species on our final list.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)