Friday, 13 November 2009

Searching for 'Jack'!

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.

Lapwing

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.

Still no sign of a Bitern BUT with the help of a 'volunteer' we were shown the location of a resting juvenille JACK SNIPE. Success at last and Richard was particularly pleased but too dark for a photo.

Finally a shot of a 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

22 comments:

  1. Great day to be out. Your mallards look a little lighter than ours. Love the Lapwing and the Egyptian Geese.

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  2. Great shots Frank. I particularly like the female Mallard.

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  3. Great post Frank with some lovely shots,looks like you had a smashing day out with some good species, and Jack Snipe is always a good find as they can be very well hidden.We have a good breeding stock of Cetti's at Marazion Marsh so always a good chance of seeing them moving low through shrubs and reeds, but hard to Photo. Nice Post Well Done

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  4. At least you got a nice Dabchick Frank.

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  5. Hi Steve. Not unusual for Mallards to turn up in many various shades (dark to very light). We even saw one that was cinnamon coloured!

    Cheers Richard.

    Monty. Thanks

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  6. Cheers Roy. I was pleased to capture a Dabchick at long last.

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  7. Wow what a day you got Frank. This look like a fantastic place to observed our feathery friends. I love the little grebe that I've never seen!

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  8. A worthwhile trip Framk, despite the gloom. I like the Little Grebe photo.

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  9. Chris. It is fairly close to home (30 minutes drive on a good day) so could be popping back fairly regularly to see what could be captured with the camera.

    Cheers Warren. I thought the Dabchick was the best pic from the limited series I shot & the only species that drifted fairly close to the hide.

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  10. Hi Frank, looks like you had a great day out. It's always fun to catch up with birding friends. Lovely Little Grebe photo, I love those bundles of fluff! (-:

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  11. That was a wonderfully spent day! Your photos are outstanding.

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  12. Hi Jen. It was good to get out despite the continuing rain and capture the fluffy 'powder-puff'.

    Hi Mona. The light was poor so have to be happy with those I saved but wanted better clarity. I know I'm being picky but glad you liked what I posted.

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  13. That looks like a very interesting place to visit and 42 species for the day sounds fantastic to me. Very interesting photos of the buildings around the area - but why is it called a 'peacock tower'?

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  14. Mick. A mixture of captive wildlife, educational areas specifically directed at children and the wildside with hides. Not sure why it's called 'Peacock', presumably named after someone or the company involved in the adjacent riverside development that was part of the overall site development.

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  15. What an excellent day Frank, and a good count. Nice one seeing the 'Jack'. Cracking shot of the Little Grebe too.

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  16. Love your shots of the Geese -which I've never seen on our side of the "pond" ...beautiful!

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  17. Hi Keith. Yes it was & I forget to mention the ongoing e-mail discussion between Barry & Richard over a possible Tufted / Scaup hybrid!

    Susan. Thanks for stopping by. The Egyptian's are not uncommon around us but always worth a photo. Just taken a quick peek at your blog & will return very shortly. FAB.

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  18. Thanks Frank...I've become a "follower" of your blog as well...great photos, and commentary! Thing I love about this new media is meeting people world wide, who share a common interest.

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  19. Hi Susan. Thanks for joining "The Early Birder" and hope you continue to enjoy my posts. FAB.

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  20. Lovely images, especially the Little Grebe.

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  21. You've captured the female mallard beautifully. Really lovely post.

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  22. LBJ (Paul) & Shirleyanne. Thanks & glad you enjoyed these images.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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