Happy New Year!
I was actually saying this to total strangers yesterday as I walked around Bedfont Lakes Country Park. I began my Year List in the garden at home, 1st bird Mr Blackbird, and another 8 species, spotted a Goldfinch in my friends road, on the Great West Road were Crows and Feral pigeons and a pair of Collared Doves as I arrived in the car park at BLCP.
Since part of BLCP is a tetrad(Bird Atlas)I will explain this on another day.
I was not going to actually count birds today just species.Each new species looked at with new eyes as you excitedly spy a different species.
(The list will be on my other site)
By the time I had reached the Black something (?)Hide I had added another 16 birds
here I met Fred (never meet before) who was looking intently at the reeds opposite.
"I think I have the Bittern" was his greeting!Great - Bitterns have been here each winter for the past 3 years I have been doing a Yearlist and I have never managed to spot one here!Fred hadn't brought his scope so mine was very useful.The bird was about a foot in the reeds so cleverly disguised you sometimes wonder if you really see one or not! Well we looked and still it was just a part of the body...was it..yes...then I looked at a different angle and there was a neck or was there? Another man arrived, Jack looked where I was and he saw a neck too. We couldn't see both bits together! But when we left the Bittern had melted away...the reeds if they had been reeds were not there any more so we had had the Bittern!Redwing and Fieldfares added but no Song or Mistle Thrush today.
These two older men were members of the Bedfont Lakes CP nature reserve (a private area only open on Sunday afternoons usually for a couple of hours to the public and to members anytime. This was to my benefit as we went in through the locked gates!
This was to see if we could see the Bittern better. Fred has actually seen the Bittern on the track we walked on!Well no more show but the pig like screaming of a heard only Water Rail.
Woodpeckers! Yaffle and Great Spot were soon added to the list. Jack spotted a Goldcrest and we all saw it! I spotted LTTits, a small flock was eventually seen.Both the guys were on 40+ as they left from the Centre car park and I had 43 a liitle later leaving from the other car Park on the other side of the Park..Obviously some different birds.
I left BedfontLakes CP to go to Staines Reservoir (where I had originally been going this morning first but it was so overcast I thought I'd wait til later. There was little on the Res in comparison to lately. But BN grebe and Scaup found fairly quickly with a hunting Kestrel overhead (mine not the ducks or grebes!)and the lovely Goldeneye and one lonely floating GBB Gull.
Canada Goose spotted on route to Barnes (WWT).(48)
Spotting with rain now as well but it cleared up until after I left the centre.
Arriving at the Peacock Tower I saw Teal and was reminded about the Garganey I dipped on Boxing Day!There were a lot of people crowding round a scope or two and what have they got then? I heard Jack Snipe...couldn't resist
"Excuse me did you say you see a JS?"
"Look here" said a friendly fella and in his scope were Common and Jack Snipe!
Well I soon got settled in near to these observant chaps.Whilst I was looking at the Ducks and Pintail(52)...one chap was actually showing more people the Snipe and a Water Rail...where...not anywhere near me!
It was getting darker outside,well and in as the hides are not lit apart from the stairwell up went everything as a Peregrine flew over.
Grey Heron (too many here! wish they would eat the fish only as they keep eating the other birds too.
Water Pipit and Stonechat were spotted by another chap.Water Pipit creeping about like a mouse and Stonechat sitting up.(56)
By now the hide had emptied and there wre only a few of us left.
I kept hearing Water Rail called eventually I asked the guy next to me where he was looking and as he described where he said lost it!
Would I actually see one today?
And then as I looked down in a corner of the grazing marsh the helpful fella was describing that actual spot and there was the grey head of a most welcome Water Rail.
(A Jack Snipe had been hiding behind a bright clump of leaves ( and difficult it was to see him)and bobbiong up and down occasionally but the Water Rail eventually walked right up to the JS who took off as quickly as earlier the WR had run away from a Moorhen! So in the scope were two tricky birds to see Water Rail and Jack Snipe. What a perfect end to a wonderful days birding. The weather was not good but at least the rain held off until I was in my car.
58 species seen for the 2008 Year List.