Friday, 17 February 2012

Green Sandpiper, Pintail, RUFF, BRENT, SMEW & WATER PIPIT


With temperatures reaching 14 degrees C today, it was hardly surprising that many bird species felt that spring had arrived. It was very cloudy generally but brightened up this afternoon, with light SW winds.

The first part of the day was spent twitching the 8th ever COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in Britain in Gwent in South Wales, whilst the afternoon was spent locally.....


Literally just yards west of the Bucks border, Bray Gravel Pits is situated north of the A 308 along Monkey Island Lane. The majority of the wildfowl (mostly diving ducks) was on the easternmost pit, on the opposite side of the river and conveyor belt, at SU 915 785

The drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was showing very well for a second day, favouring the left hand of the pit. It was consorting with a remarkable number of Aythya ducks, including no less than 337 Tufted Ducks and 92 Pochards. Over 40 Gadwalls were also present, as well as a displaying pair of Sparrowhawks.


A visit mid-afternoon resulted in me adding two patch ticks for the year - the dapper drake NORTHERN PINTAIL showing well from the hide and a GREEN SANDPIPER on the right hand side of the bund

The heavily ringed Dutch male RUFF was still present, parading up and down the emergent vegetation close to the hide. On his left leg, he is wearing a yellow plastic ring over white and on the right leg, a yellow over blue over a red flag (with a darvic ring above the tibia).

Other notables included a single Little Grebe back, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 723 Teals, a drake Shoveler and 12 Gadwall; still 5 active Sinensis Cormorant nests, whilst 2 immature Argenteus HERRING GULLS dropped in for a while.

The DARK-BELLIED BRENT was in the East Fields

On STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, all 3 show-stoppers were on view - the WATER PIPIT and SNOW BUNTING both vying for attention in the NE (Bucks) corner and the redhead SMEW on the water.


Chris Pontin and I enjoyed excellent views of 2 WATER RAILS and a GREY WAGTAIL this evening on the allotment cressbeds.

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