Sunday, 29 April 2012

Staines in the rain (29th April)

I was lucky enough to get another lift from my Mum to Staines Reservoir, as she often heads in the same direction on Sundays.  Ironically, and as always, when the weather is bad the birding gets better.  However, today, the weather was so bad at times that birding was made neigh impossible.  I arrived at Staines at about 8:45am by which time the gusts of wind had already increased the wave height to the highest I have yet seen it at the Reservoirs.  Anyway, the weather:
  • cloud 3/3 shade 1/3
  • wind 2/3 later increased to 2-3/3
  • temp. 0/3
  • rain 2/3
 one of the 1st summer Little Gulls

I arrived just before the regular Bob Andrews, and met up with Dave and Neil and together we were soon enjoying good views of an adult summer BLACK TERN (a year tick for me).  Thanks to Niel who also pointed out the 4 LITTLE GULLS (1 2nd summer, 3 1st summers) battling through the strong gusts.  Most of the birds were forced into the south westerly corner of the North Basin so we shelter behind a wind battered bramble bush near the westerly end of the causeway, were Bob, Niel and I remained for the remained of the day and early afternoon.  As well as the 100's of ever present Black-headed Gulls (including the regular 1st winter bird with the abnormally large swollen yellow feet and tarsus), dozens of Common Terns and influx of 100's of Swifts, dozens of House Martins and lesser numbers of Swallows hawking over the water there was little of note until around midday.


As the wind picked up and our body temperatures fell, the birding didn't get much better, except for a new arrival in the form of a single Oystercatcher on the west bank of the north basin.  Unfortunately, I missed both of Bob's Arctic Terns but checking the South bank of the causeway was good compensation as I quickly came across my first YELLOW WAGTAIL of the year (an adult male), 1 WHITE WAGTAIL (also male) and a single Little Ringed Plover, all within a few metres of one another.  Very soon a summer plumaged Dunlin also flew in and landed with the Wagtails.  I decided to walk further east along the bank in hope of getting some record shots.  Fortunately, as well as getting some terrible shots, I also came across 2 summer plumaged BLACK NECKED GREBES, swimming west very close to the causeway.

 2 Black-necked Grebes, camera had a lot of condensation on it by this time so very hazy shots, but still very beautiful birds

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