I was working in Bedford this morning, and when the weather started to deteriorate around lunchtime I thought a trip to Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire was in order as there were a few birds I wanted to see present there.
I parked the car as far west as you can on the north shore and walked along Sanctuary Bay towards Savages Creek.
Looking out onto the reservoir there was very little to see apart from a few Great crested Grebes, Goldeneye and Cormorants. However some way along the track I noticed a Pied Wagtail and a much stockier small bird on the shoreline. On close inspection it turned out to be a Rock Pipit.
Nearer to Savages Creek I then picked out 2 ducks out on the water, these were one of my target birds, 2 first winter male Velvet Scoters. Much easier to see here than the usual views of birds far out to sea in the middle of a flock of 5000 Common Scoters. While looking at these fine pair, I noticed another of my targets nearby, a winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe.
Having found these two species reasonably easily, and the bonus Rock Pipit, I decided to push my luck and go around to the other side near to the sailing club where a Black-necked Grebe has been seen recently. However by the time I arrived the sleet showers had turned into a full scale Blizzard and I gave up looking very quickly and decided to head home.
Cutting accross country rather than going the direct way home, I stopped off just outside Keysoe in Beds and was rewarded with good views of several Red-legged Partridges and a couple of Corn Buntings.