Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wilstone Grebe

It's always embarrassing to make a wrong call on a bird. You don't want people to travel to see a potential rare only to find out that it's a more common species that you have misidentified. I think most birders will have done this at least once.
 My attitude is though, better to put the news out because if it is that rareity you would feel even more stupid if someone else found it later and you tried to say 'oh yes I found that last week!'
 Well as of now I won't feel half as bad.
A certain well known, nationally acclaimed local birder, when told that a Black-necked Grebe had turned up at nearby Wilstone Reservoir, rushed out to see it and posted pictures on his blog naming it as a a Black-necked Grebe.
 A couple of days later after many people had been out to see it, stories started coming out that it was actually a Slavonian Grebe.
 Hence a return visit by the aforementioned 'celebrity' and the reversing lights started coming on followed by lots of excuses.
 O.K. Black-necked Grebe is a very good bird to see but in my book Slavonian is a good deal better. So this morning I took  a trip out to see this wonderful bird especially as reports suggested it had been showing at ridiculously close range.
 Sure enough although it wasn't exactly in the place it had been for the rest of the week  the delightful little chap performed really well about 10 yards offshore, unfazed by people constantly walking past.

Slavonian Grebe

Slavonian Grebe

 Elsewhere on the reservoir there were good numbers of waterfowl with lots of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Mallard especially, with Shoveler, Tufted Ducks and Pochard all present. Near to the hide 3 Little Egrets and a single Black-tailed Godwit paddled in the mud.

 Slavonian Grebe is a bird that has eluded me in my home county of Bucks. I've just worked out that I have now seen it in all of the surrounding counties:

Bedfordshire: 1 bird, Northants: 3, Cambridgeshire: 1, Hertfordshire: 1, Leicestershire: 3, Warwickshire: 1.
Bucks really is a birdless county !

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Surprise on the marsh

While on a bit of a stomp around Olney Meadows this lunchtime, mainly hoping to find a Jack Snipe - I did see one Common Snipe -, I had one of them moments when you find yourself in mid-step and have to stop putting your foot down.
 I have a phobia of Snakes and there just under my foot was this sunbathing two foot long Grass Snake.
Even though I am scared of them, I can't help but watch them and managed a few photos before it slithered off into the grass. Unfortunately it's head is partially obscured  but other than that you can see it pretty well.