Thursday, 20 December 2012

BUFF BIRTHDAY!!! (19th December)

I couldn't have asked for more on my birthday, I just arrived back from Cornwall in the early hours of the morning but set my alarm again for 8am.  A quick spin around the common with my dog (something I was also looking forward to for some time) and I was soon given a lift by my mum to west London.  From the motorway, I saw 2 Red Kites a species I haven't seen in a long time.  We pulled up into Queen Mother Reservoir at around 10:45am and were greeted by Michael McKee at the gate, payed our entrance permits and were soon heading down to the south east corner of the reservoir where a group of twitchers had already assembled.  As expected, on arrival we were treated to the absolute stunning performance of an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT literally strutting along the reservoir bank barely a meter from where we were stood!  We situated ourselves a few meters infront of the pipit, watched it make an extremely close pass before repeating the process over and over again   Bins were barely needed, let alone a scope, instead I watched it for much of the time without optics and took some rather terrible shots of it with my compact digital camera.  Getting a digi-scope shot proved rather difficult as it was continuously in the mood for foraging, stopping only briefly for a fraction of a second at a time to collect insects from the concrete bank of the reservoir.  It made one unexpected flight a little out into the reservoir before heading back to the bank were it continued to show brilliantly.

 Queen Mother Reservoir

 American Buff-bellied Pipit!!!  Best birthday present ever!

a rather poor quality video as it wondered past at our feet!

 Other than the pipit, a Great Northern Diver was also on the southern end of the reservoir whilst Pete (another local birder I had met before at Staines) and I wondered back up to the northern end and had brilliant views of the female LONG-TAILED DUCK, which made three very close flypasts an extra bonus for the already brilliant day!

female Long-tailed Duck

Many many thanks to the dedication of the Berkshire Bird Club volunteers who put tremendous effort into maintaining the site open for access, it was a real birthday treat!

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