Saturday, 18 February 2012

Barnes Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (18th February)

I was out today with my dad and Alfons to visit the famous Barnes Wildfowl and Wetland Trust site at Barnes, London.  The weather started out well with
  • cloud 3/3 shade 1-2/3 without any rain (until later in the afternoon when the level of rain approached 2-3/3)
  • wind 1/3
  • temp. 1/3

On arriving, around 10:45am we headed north through the reserve passing through the area holding captive bred birds from around the globe.  Amongst them were the occasional Moorhen and Mallard mingled with the more exotic wildfowl species.  Our first stop to indulge in some proper birding was at the Headley Hide were several water birds were present including Wigeon, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe and Cormorants.  Nothing much was of exciting news but it was a rather novice experience trying to get my dad and Alfons involved and interested.  Better birds ensued when we returned and took the path east towards the Peacock Tower were I found 2 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS (1juv. or 1st win, 1 3rd win.) on the shingle island north of the Dulverton Hide overlooking the main lake.

1 of 2 Great Black-backed Gulls,  the juv. or 1st win. later took a bite out of the backside of a Lapwing in flight, ending up with a mouth full of feathers.

 the 3rd win. arrived next

We were also treated to good views of a Pintail feeding infront of the hide and soon after scanning to the right, towards the Peacock Tower I picked up on a very fast flying and active probable LITTLE GULL swooping backwards and forwards in the very NE corner of the reserve, unfortunately I could not refined it as, after less than half a minute of watching, it flew behind some trees and of the reserve grounds.  Other birds of note on the site included 2 Stock Dove, large numbers of Gadwall, Coot and a small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls, mostly in 1st winter plumage.  One of the birding highlights of the day was the surprise find of a WATER RAIL skulking very close to the reserve pathway between the Dulverton and WWF Hide.  However despite approaching me to within less than 5 meters from where I was stood, in some low dead vegetation, I could not refined it!  Our final stop of the day was at the Peacock Tower near the eastern extent of the reserve were the largest number of Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler and Pintail were all visible.  Even better was the opportunity to see the birds from above, whilst in flight rather than the usual view of their underside as they fly overhead.  In all a very enjoyable and sociable day proving that birding has it all.

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