With seemingly the whole country being fogbound Paul and I decided not to risk going to Norfolk today. We instead decided to visit Berkshire, where there were 3 good birds on offer, all within 7 or 8 miles of each other.
I planned to meet up at Pauls house at 9, so on the way I decided to pop into Oldbrook estate to see if the recent Waxwing flock was still around. Eventually after checking most of the estate I found the flock roosting in a large tree in the middle of a roundabout on Century Avenue. A quick count gave me 47 birds. Hopefully this was a good omen for the rest of the day.
Our first stop was a place called Freemans Marsh, just outside Hungerford, where a Glossy Ibis had turned up a few days earlier.
Finding this bird proved to be no problem at all, just 250 yards walk from the car, paddling around in the river, at a range of a ridiculously close 20 yards.
The river also held a couple of Little Grebe and Water Rails often in the same vicinity as the Ibis.
During the week there had been reports of Jack Snipe in the area, so a check of all the nearby side-streams was called for. Unfortunately no Jacks but a couple of Common Snipe, 2 Green Sandpipers another Water Rail and a Little Egret.
We spotted some fish in the river and one half eaten specimen on the bank which I'm fairly sure were Greyling _ a first for me.
Another easy one, as we hardly had to get out of the car to see a Great White Egret consorting with 4 of it's smaller relatives, Little Egrets.
A distant shot shows the difference in size between the two species (click on the picture twice to bring it up bigger)
|Great White Egret|
Two out of three of our target birds added up to a very enjoyable day, and lunch at the pub at Whickham rounded it off nicely.