On Wednesday I visited the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Barnes together with two old friends Barry and Richard. Barry used to ring Canada Geese on this site when it was reservoirs long before it was converted into a wildlife reserve and education centre. He was making one of his bi-annual visits to the UK from visiting his wife's family in Hong Kong and next week will fly to Tenerife for the winter returning to his main home in the Okanagen Valley in British Columbia, Canada at the end of the winter....what a great life! Richard is also a very experienced birdwatcher with an interest in monitoring raptor migration in Europe and he had checked the recent reports which indicated the precence of Bittern, Water Pipit and Jack Snipe over recent days. The question was, with a very overcast sky, rain showers forecasted so not at all ideal for photography, what would we actually see?
The view below is of the main centre (taken from the Peacock Tower) and shows the observation area where we started our day.
Initial sightings included; Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Shovellers, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Geese, Starlings, Rose-ringed Parakeets, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and these two Egyptian Geese. (Sorry for the lack of sharpness but digi-scoped through the glass windows of the Observation Area!)
We then walked through the World Wetlands checking all the exotic collection species on our way to the hide at Wildside. During this short stroll we added Great-spotted Woodpecker, Great Tits, Cetti's Warbler heard calling, which we endeavoured to hunt down as it moved low down through the reeds (or was it a Wren?)
Scanning everywhere whilst in the hide we only added Grey Herons, Little Grebe, Stonechat, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow, Woodpigeons, Wigeon and a fast flashing bypass of a Kingfisher. No sign of a Bittern or Jack Snipe but a distant Common Snipe and flying Redshank was located using my scope. It was now just past midday so the decision was taken to return to the centre for lunch. During our return walk, dampened by one of the forecasted showers, we added Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits foraging through the shrubbery. Lunch was Chicken and Chips for me (no surprise) and Vegetarian Curry for the other two plus a lot of chat catching up on each others lives and, of course, our wildlife sightings since we last met. The rest of the day was spent heading out towards the Peacock Tower with various stops which added House Sparrows, Collared Dove, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Jay and Chaffinch.
Female Mallard exercising.
By the time we eventually reached the Peacock Tower and climbed the stairs to the top viewing area the light was beginning to fade.Little Grebe to bring my total to 42 for the day and to say a special thanks to Barry and Richard for a great day out. FAB