Sunday, 19 February 2012

Staines Reservoir (19th February)

I got the good opportunity to get a lift from my mum, Agnes, and was kindly dropped of at Staines Reservoir in west London in hope of catching up on yesterdays sightings of 2 Slavonian Grebes.  The day started well with
  • cloud 1/3 shade 0/3
  • wind 2/3
  • temp. 0-1/3 rising to 1/3 later in the day
  • rain 0/3 however a brief shower of snow/hail did occur for about a minute at 13:15pm.

the causeway between the north and south basin of Staines Reservoir

 the desolate landscape of the N basin

 planes taking of every minute, making it anything but relaxing

 wind blasting into my face made scannig the N basin a difficult job...

 whilst glare from the sun made it difficult scanning the S basin.

All the same, not a bad day indeed, as several of the recent goodies as well as new birds were on show.  I arrived around 8:45am and soon joined several other birders on the causeway between the N and S basin.  Thanks to some local expertise and some earlier arrivals I was soon pointed towards a SCAUP resting in the SW corner of the N basin and another inland surprise in the form of an imm. SHAG (a year tick) that was resting/preening on the central tern island.  As I scanned from the causeway the Scaup suddenly woke and began showing very well close to the path and even began diving, bringing up a load of weed/mud on one occasion.  From the same spot I also found 4 BLACK-NECKED GREBES (3 win., 1 sum.) (a year tick) along the western side of the S basin amongst dozens of Pochard, Wigeon, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks.  Other birds of note included 2 Shelduck perched on the concrete bank of the S basin and 2 Redshank feeding together on the causeway bank of the S basin.  Ducks were definitely the main attraction of the day and at least 11 Goldeneye were present on both basins, including at least 6 drakes.  Even better was the sight of 4 SMEW (2, 2) (a year tick) that flew in on the N basin but were soon trumped by a total of 6 SMEW (2, 4) that eventually congregated in the NE extent of the N basin.

drake Smew chasing the redheads around

I was also notified of an additional 2 drake Scaup that had been present in the bay in the SE corner of the N basin, but on arriving I could only locate 1 SCAUP amongst a small raft of Tufted Ducks 

Scuap, right hand bird

Scuap with Tufties

2 Teal (1, 1) were also in the same bay as were dozens of Wigeon that had come out of the water to feed on the grassy bank.  News passed quickly along the causeway of recent sightings on the reservoirs and within minutes I was alerted to the news of a pos. Water Pipit that had been traveling east along the causeway bank of the S basin.  The task to locate it seemed neigh impossible as it was not seen on the concrete bank and there was ample opportunity for it to hide in the tussock grass and bramble.  Despite a good search all I could find were 2 Meadow Pipits an unIDed flyover Pipit sp. that didn't call (probably another Meadow Pipit).  Yesterday's 2 Slavonian Grebes could not be found throughout the morning, despite extensive searching by over a dozen observers, and had perhaps moved on to a neighbouring reservoir, however, 2 Little Grebes, and 1 Kestrel were other birds of note.  On returning to the western side of the causeway I was glad to find all 3 SCAUP (2, 1) together resting/diving just to the west of the tern rafts on the N basin.  In all, quite a successful day with 3 year ticks but I was particularly pleased with encountering all the mornings’ good birds, particularly the stunning Smew and Scaup.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Samuel - i just had a google to see other people's Staines res lists from this morning. I was there with my partner this morning and think i saw you. Well done on a fantastic blog - lets hope we see the Slav grebes yet! Great birding to you. Catherine