Friday, December 14, 2012

Grey morning and a Buff afternoon

Thursday 13th December, I went to Hitchin Hertfordshire to look at an IBM server, and the problem turned out to be some of the memory Dimms needed to refitted after transit to site. So some time to go birding, close by was a Grey Phalarope at Dunstable Sewage Treatment Works Thorn Bedfordshire. Arrived at Thorn and located the track going down the the STW, on the gate was one of the local birders who gave me the site details and let me in. Around and under the bird feeders were Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Blue tit, Great Tit and Chaffinch. The first two ponds were completely iced over and on the third in the far left hand corner was the Grey Phalarope, busy feeding and making short flights, one flight was due to a Little Grebe fight that got to close.
Birds on 3rd Pond, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull Carrion Crow and the Grey Phalarope. Year List = 228
Looking over the Third Pond

Fourth and largest Pond, added Canada Goose, and a Ring-necked x Tufted Duck Hybrid.

Ring-necked x Tufted Duck Hybrid

While on site on of the another birders pager went off, and mentioned negative news on a Buff-bellied Pipit at Queen mother Reservoir, finished and went home. When at home switched on my laptop to some work, and I had a quick look (as you do) at the latest bird news, and the Buff-bellied Pipit had been relocated and was showing well. Back in the car and of to QMR, as I drove pass the reservoir I could see the group of birders with others walking towards them. Parked up away from the main gate and down the nearest residential road, and quickly made my way up to where the BBP was showing. As I was approaching the main group two birders in front of me stopped and I caught them up, they where on the BBP which was right in the middle of the path feeding and coming closer to us and further away from the main group.

I was able to get great views of the BBP in my scope.

It then flew down to the waters edge, most of the main group started to leave, in this group was a local birder giving out the day permits for £2, the BBP flew back along the waters edge as more birders arrived. Seen on way out Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Magpie and Carrion Crow. Year List = 229

Freezing, Foggy Farmoor for Falcated

On 11th December as Farmoor Reservoir Oxfordshire, was only a short drive from where I was working, I went to a Freezing, Foggy Farmoor for the Falcated Duck.
Parked up and walked up to view the reservoir near the tower on Farmoor II, first birds seen Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and then a Kingfisher on the raft. 

Also seen on Farmoor II as I walked towards Farmoor I were Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Coot & Pied Wagtail.
Then I started to walk around Farmoor I in an anti-clockwise direction, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Carrion Crow & Magpie added, then about half way along this bank with the Tufted Ducks & Coots was a Salvonian Grebe.

I turned the corner to go up the far side of the reservoir, then from the trees out flew a Buzzard, and feeding in and under the trees & bushes were, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, Greenfinch & Goldfinch. Back to the water and the search for the Falcated Duck, seeing Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler & Pochard. In the NW corner were a large amount of Mallard and in with these was the Falcated Duck, the bird is unringed and surprisingly wary, swimming away from the 
shore at speed, before any of the Mallards it seems to be associating with.
Falcated Duck (for more images go to

I then continued round along the causeway and near one of the hides, close in was another Salvonian Grebe. Year list now at 227.

St Katherine Docks

5th December I was back at Aldgate, so for my lunchtime walk I went around St Katherine Docks and along part of the Thames path. Birds seen: Cormorant, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow.
Tall Ship (Etoile Du Roy) & Coot

Tufted Ducks in St Katherine Docks

View from Thames Path

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mill Pond Bracknell

Friday 30th November, worked closer to home and I only had to go to Bracknell Berkshire, so at lunchtime went to Mcdonald's which is next to Mill Pond.

After I had eaten, I returned to my car a got my binoculars and then walked around Mill Pond, seeing:- Little Grebe (4), Cormorant (1), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (5), Egyptian Goose (2), Canada Goose (31), Mallard (40), Pochard (1), Tufted Duck (14), Moorhen (11), Coot (36), Black-headed Gull (86), Common Gull (4), Herring Gull (2), Grey Wagtail (1), Magpie (6), Carrion Crow (6) and in the trees and bushes Woodpigeon, Robin, Blue Tit & Great Tit.

Aldgate to Belfast

Thursday 29th November, I was working in Aldgate London, so at lunchtime I had a walk over Tower Bridge and then on to view HMS Belfast. Birds seen were Feral Pigeons, and near City Hall, 2 Woodpigeons and a Starling, and on the Thames 2 Cormorants (also 1 Cormorant in St Katharine Docks) and numerous Black-headed Gulls.
Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast
Tower of London

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Kites and Ravens put on a flying display.

Great lunch time, parked up next to Prospect Hill/High Wood Hurley Berkshire, 14 Red Kites, 2 Ravens and a supporting cast of Woodpigeons, Stock Doves, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Pheasants, Carrion Crows, Magpies and a Robin.

Top Field

Lower Field (You can see the Horizon Office Building where I work when required)

Return to QMR for 226

On Monday 26th Novemeber after working in central London, on my way home I went back to the Queen Mother Reservoir for the Long-tailed Duck reported on goingbirding. Quickly found the LT Duck close to one of the sailing club slip ways (see Below).
Long-tailed Duck (for better photos go to

Great Sky in this photo looking over the reservoir.

Other birds seen: Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Peregrine, Black-headed, Common, Herring & Great Black-backed Gulls, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Grey & Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie & Carrion Crow.

Human League - Brighton Dome

Tracey and I went to the Brighton Dome on Friday 23rd Novemeber to see the Human League in concert, they were great, I loved growing up in the 80's.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

5th Grebe of the year

21st November I was working in Hurley Berkshire, so at lunchtime took the short drive to the Queen Mother Reservoir to see the Red-necked Grebe, taking my year list on to 225.

Looking towards the Tufted Ducks and the Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Looking back at the sailing club.

Aylesbury Waxwings

20th Novemeber
Back to Hemel Hempstead for work in the morning and then to High Wycombe in the afternoon, so in between went to Aylesbury to see the waxwings. Arrived at Gatehouse Way around 14:45, No Waxwings on show, so had a walk around seeing Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch & Goldfinch. I then moved the car so I could eat my lunch while the trees next to the Micha building were in view, then a flock of birds flew in, a quick look confirmed them to be the waxwings, so I got out and counted 18. Before I left to go the High Wycombe, I sent Lee GR Evans a text message with the news. Year list - 224

Foggy Fleet Pond

16th November took the dogs for a walk around a very foggy Fleet Pond.

Foggy Fleet Pond from Sandy Bay, highlight of the walk was here as in the alders was a mixed flock of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Goldfinch.

All the dogs in the wooded area near the car park.

A tale of two Salvonians

15th Novemeber, On holiday this week, finished redecorating the bathroom, so time for some birding, first stop Manor Lake Thorpe Surrey for the long staying Salvonian Grebe. I parked down Church Approach and walked down the footpath to view Manor Lake. I scanned the lake and quickly found the grebe in the SW corner, and watched it as it dived at regular intervals. Up to 223.

SW corner of Manor Lake (Salvonian Grebe is on the water between the viewing panels and tree)

Great start to the day, headed back home to collect the dogs and then of to Pagham Harbour (Church Norton) Wesr Sussex. Arrived at the Church Norton car park around 12:30, then we walked down to the harbour, but did not get very far as the tide was in, and it was a very high tide covering all the footpath. So we walked back to the car park and then down the road until we got the road/footpath on the left which goes through the farm.

.Looking round the farm buildings, birds seen here and on the way to the Severals, Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling and Chaffinch. Then on to the beach and looked over the Serverals adding Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and low over the reeds a Sparrowhawk.

On the beach near the Severals looking towards Pagham Harbour. Oystercatcher and Turnstones on the beach.

Polly and Thomas.

Charlie and Reg.

We then walked along the beach up to the harbour mouth seeing some Skylarks, Tide going out. Gulls seen Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great Black-backed. Out on the sea Great Crested Grebes and a Salvonian Grebe.
Birds on the water and roosting in the harbour, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, DB Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Red-Breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank.

Roosting waders - Knot, Grey Plover and Turnstone.

Looking back towards the hide at church Norton.

The Harbour Mouth

We then started to return to the car park at Church Norton as all the footpaths were now clear of water. On the way there were Stock Doves in the trees, and then one last look over the harbour mud, adding Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, I then saw a very pale large bird! Which turned out to be a Leucistic Curlew, and finally in the trees in the car park Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

Hooded Merganser & Red-Breasted Goose

The morning of 8th november had me working up in Hemel Hempstead, and as I finished earlier than planned, I headed of for the Hooded Merganser at Pagham Harbour (North Wall) West Sussex. I walked to the sluice gate and joined the other birders around 13:00, only poor distant views of the Merganser to start with, as the tide was out and looking towards the sun, but as luck would have it, the tide was now coming in.

From the Sluice gate.

After about 90 minutes the tide was bringing the Hooded Merganser,other wildfowl and waders closer.

Dark-Bellied Brent Geese in field next to the road where car parked.

Still had some daylight left so on my way home I stopped at Farlington Marsh Hampshire for the Red-Breasted Goose that arrived with the Dark-Bellied Brent Geese. Viewing from the sea wall I located the RB Goose with some DB Brent Geese near to the earth mover that is being used to repair the sea wall around Farlington Marsh, these two taking this years list to 222.

Desert Wheatear 2 Eyeball Paul 0

On the morning of 6th november I set off to Abberton Reservoir, Essex hoping to see the Desert Wheatear that had been around the visitor centre car park. When I arrived I went into the vistor centre, and found out that the Desert Wheatear had not been seen that morning, the freezing cold night or the work on the sand mound had moved it on.
Chinese Goose

Monday, November 5, 2012

West Wycombe Buckinghamshire

Today work took me to High Wycombe, and at lunch time I went to West Wycombe for a walk.
I parked down Toweridge Lane,
and crossed the A40 to view the fields, seeing Black-headed Gulls, Woodpigeons, Magpies, Pheasants, a few Red Kites overhead and then two Carrion Crows started to give a Buzzard, that was perched on a fence post a hard time, it took off and landed in a nearby tree.
In another field a Kestrel was hovering near the hedge, and further up the hill Red-legged Partridges were seen. I then walked towards West Wycombe and as I started the climb up to the Mausoleum a Grey Heron flew over, in the bushes was a Robin and Great Tit. In the numerous Yew trees were Blackbirds enjoying the berries. Once at the top of the hill I walked around the mausoleum,
and church yard, on my return down the hill Red Kites were seen flying below me giving great views.
I returned to my car and a Pied Wagtail was seen on the roof of one the the buildings. Before returning to work, I had a quick walk up Toweridge Lane to view the Game Cover Crop,
in which was a large number of Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge, and in the field Woodpigeons and Rooks and finally in the hedge Chaffinches.