Thursday, 16 January 2014

Well that was surprising

Being a work day i wasn't thinking that i would be doing much birding. I had a presentation to Mars in the morning though on Galaxy advertising, which went surprisingly well, in the middle of Slough industrial estate. This isn't an area you automatically assume will be full of birds!!
On getting back to my car though, a flock of about 20 pigeons flew up from one of the roofs as a scimitar-shaped bird flew through them. I'd heard that peregrines nested on the cooling towers but i'd not seen them before. this looked good though although it promptly disappeared towards the towers. I quickly drove out and round the estate to get to the bottom of them and there it was - a peregrine staring down quite crossly at me!!!
As it was then lunchtime and my drive back took me past Staines reservoir i thought it rude not to drop in. Black-necked grebes are almost resident and Slavonian was also there but i was after a male scaup which was still not on my year list. Tow other birders were on site but neither had seen it. As ever, it was cold and most of the birds on the south basin which was choppy with the wind and you had the (weak) sun in your eyes. We spotted a small grebe in with a group of about 20 tufted ducks. Whilst 'scoping that i spotted a strange tuftie - pale back not dark. We'd lucked out and got the male scaup. I left the others trying to make the little grebe into a slav and headed home. Tow year-ticks on a work day.
Then i really finished well. I was walking in through the door and i glanced through the lounge windows to the river at the bottom of the garden and there was a distinctive large creamy-coloured bird. Male (and female) goosanders frequent the river most years although this year they are very thin on the ground and i hadn't seen one. This one fished vigorously in the fast flowing stream for about 20 minutes.
3 year ticks in one day and all nice ones to boot. Takes my total to 126. Should i start talking about a big-year? Hard without Scotland scheduled though.