Monday, 12 December 2011


What a glorious winter's day today, trouble is there's never two the same, wind and rain again tonight and tomorrow I believe.

First bird of the day as I left Brooklands car park was a Jay, I made a mental note to find a way to get a decent picture of one of these beauties, but I won't hold my breath! Brooklands lake was pretty much as usual with Tufties, Coots, Pochard, Gt Crested Grebe and Little Grebe all seen along with the BH Gulls and a couple of Common Gulls. I scanned the reed beds in the hope of finding a Bittern but to no avail.

A party of Long tailed Tits made there way noisily along the edge of the small wood, as I stood and watched four Cormorants fishing in the shallows at the bottom of the tide. On the exposed island there were a couple more, standing upright, wings akimbo, looking like the bird world equivalent of a pair of seedy flashers in black macs. A couple of Redshanks loudly registered their disgust as they flew past upriver and the Grey Herons standing as if on duty along the far bank, all carried on their business with an air of disinterest.

The sunken marsh was lit by the low winter sun making it difficult to see the still plentiful winter thrushes there, their presence though confirmed by the 'chak chak' of the Fieldfares and the 'seep' of the Redwings as my approach sent them crashing noisily from the hawthorns and sloes. A couple of Cetti's Warblers shouted unseen from within the marsh and Bullfinches, also unseen, kept reassuring contact with their soft calls. Opposite, on the riverbank, a single Little Egret made the most of the mudbank as the tide picked up speed and began to flow back inland again.

In the tall reeds that line the river alongside the WW2 pill box, I was pleased to find a couple of Reed Buntings who were feeding on the seed heads.

Compared to some, these little birds are quite confiding at times and they didn't seem too bothered by me, so long as I kept a respectable distance.

The wind was blowing the tall reeds and as the birds moved up them to get at the seed heads the stems travelled, seesaw fashion, from upright to horizontal. Frustrating for the camera, good fun for the birds.....or was that my imagination?

Even a Blue Tit joined in. Unfortunately our fun was stopped when a couple of people with a dog walked by on the narrow path, they looked at me suspiciously as I stood in the reed bed all alone, not even a bird to keep me company now. Perhaps they thought I was a flasher, thankfully I didn't have a black mac on.
I met Eddie Denson as I walked over to the Bittern area at Streamside, he told me the Bitterns weren't playing ball today so I walked back with him via Abbey Meads where earlier i'd stood and watched two Chiffchaffs as they searched every nook and cranny of a small Oak tree in their relentless need for food. This time the highlights were the low level, silent flypast of a Kingfisher just inches above the lake's surface and two tiny Goldcrests who worked their way through the bushes, calling constantly, on the east side of the lake.

A last look from the small wood by the river, at last gave us some raptors in the shape of a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk who both hunted in the distance on the other side of the river. A Grey Wagtail also graced us with it's presence as it flew past calling loudly. This and a single Rook, along with a small flock of Lapwings pushed my list for the morning to 49 species. I was well pleased with that but I said to Eddie that 50 would have been nice. And so it was when just before the car park a festive Robin posed confidently as we walked past, I should have got that one first not last, but never mind.
Lastly, good to meet you again Roger and thanks for reading my blog!


Alan Pavey said...

A really nice account again Phil, a good species total too. I think it was wise to get out today and not leave it until later in the week!!

Warren Baker said...

Always like reading your descriptive posts Phil :-) 50 species in a day is good at this time of year, its taken me 12 days to to 57!

Bob Bushell said...

Well, I loved the Goldfinch, it is breath taking.

Paul said...

Hi Phil, 50 in a day is very good mate.
I was there Saturday, and finally got to see/photograph one of your Bitterns. I also saw/heard 2 Water Rail. One in the area of the Bittern(heard) and I saw the other one(twice) in the reeds to the left at the Bittern viewing side. I spent at least an hour in that area(2 sessions on the day).

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
You picked a good day for it compared to what we are suppose to have coming this week.
Just a thought, but if the Cormorants were flashing at you, what did you do to encourage them??
Finally a good total for today

Mike Attwood said...

Not bad Phil. I've been struggling to get into double figures.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
What , no Bittern !
You still did very well though , just as well I didn't make it over and probably put the mockers on everything .
As for 'seedy flashers in black macs' , there's no answer to that , is there ? said...

always interesting birds to observe the reed bunting...and the people when they see us hiding they sometimes dont realize what are we doing....its fun!