Sunday, 11 January 2009

Frozen water ...........and few birds!

Well wrapped up against the cold & a blue sky it was off to Staines Reservoir which is a bleak location particularly in winter but does usually hold a varied selection of grebes, waders and the occassional diver. I unexpectedly met a very old friend, Alan, who said there was very little to see as most of the water was frozen. Movement of the water had created these large slabs of ice.
A scan of the 2 basins produced Great Crested Grebes(7), Little Grebe, a mixture of Gulls way out on the frozen water, a few Wigeon, Gadwall, Coot, Mallard, Northern Shovellers (50+)hugging the distant shoreline, a single Cormorant, 12 Ruddy Ducks (who obviously survived the culling process!), plus Pochard and Tufted Ducks.

Common Pochard
Male Tufties

A Kestrel was hunting the causeway margins and eventually dropped onto the pathway with a kill and enabled me to get this distant digi-snap through the scope.
A Meadow Pipit called as it flew overhead. As I returned to my car Tony & Hugh turned up with other members of the Surrey Bird Club. I updated them on the lack of species and headed off to Wraysbury Gravel Pits. Once again all the pits were frozen ..... apart from a small patch of clear water where most of the ducks & gulls were gathered.
As I wandered around the various pits species seen were Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits, Grey Herons (2), Jackdaw, Starlings, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Kestrel, Cormorants, Mute Swan, Parakeets, Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Shovellers, Teal & Goldeneye (3).
Despite the abundance of seed heads there was a distinct lack of finches....I guess most of them are still in Tricia's garden!
Whilst searching to locate winter thrushes I disturbed a Water Rail (heard it call as it flew into cover) but failed to get my bins onto it and also flushed 2 Snipe alongside the stream .....one of them might have been a 'Jack' but again I was too slow to react. I eventually caught up with the thrushes - Fieldfare, Redwing and a Song Thrush and just managed to get some half decent photos. Fieldfare
Redwing
Song Thrush

This final shot was taken to remind me of the best location for Kingfisher and Water Rail sightings in the past.....But not today. Never mind it was a pleasant stroll in much improved weather conditions.

9 comments:

  1. The goldfinches, with the milder temperatures, were down in numbers today Frank.

    Sounds like a good birding day on the whole. Wraysbury Gravel Pits is a new one for me. Must check it out!

    Great pics of the Kestrel and particularly the Fieldfare!

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  2. I enjoyed reading about your day too Tricia. I often drive past The Mill with one eye on the water!

    I'll be in touch about a guided tour of the pits at Wraysbury - once they have thawed out.

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  3. That sounds good to me Frank.

    I hope your other eye is on the road! Lol.

    It is a pretty spot; just a pity about the noisy busy road next to it!

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  4. I love the colors of all the ducks! Still seems as if you got some nice surprises in your walk there. :c)

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  5. Yes the male Shovellers are particularly colourful Jayne. I never fail to be enthralled by what I see regardless how common the species might be.

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  6. Hi Frank The birds you get in winter look great the last photo looks like a great spot to spent some time there.

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  7. Yes Neil I think the winter thrushes are special. When the water levels are high the stream is a good spot for sightings of Kingfisher, if you are lucky!

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  8. Looks like you had a great day and a great location. I've never seen a fieldfare before, but I knew instantly what it was before I saw the title. Nice!

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  9. Thanks for dropping by Steve. I was also pleased with the snap of the Fieldfare as they are very flighty & not easy to get close to.

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