Saturday, 13 April 2013

Green-winged Teal: Crossness

Yesterday's news of a Green-winged Teal sighted at Crossness, means this is where we head for first.
Setting off at 6.30 we make the 23 mile trip in good time and are pulling into the Thamesview Golf Centre car park shortly after 7.
Leaving the car park, we head East along the riverside footpath and head towards the sewage outfall. On the walk down we bump into Kev Jarvis who informs us that the Teal is still present and showing well.
With this news the pace quickens and we arrive at the sewage outfall and start scanning through the birds.There's good numbers of Gadwall close in, with smaller numbers of Shoveler and Teal. A scan of all the birds on the water in front of us doesn't turn up the target bird.
Scanning the edges plenty of Redshank are found and a single Bar-tailed Godwit is also seen. A further scan and the target is found on the foreshore in the company of a female Teal.

Green-winged Teal (B Anderson)
From here it's off to Blows Down in Bedfordshire, normally a good spot for Ring Ouzels, and with an early morning report of 3 birds present on Kingsbury slope we are hopeful of a sighting.
Parking at the end of Half Moon Lane, we scan the paddocks for any sign. The first bird seen is a cracking male Redstart perched in a small tree, in all three Redstarts are found. A couple of Wheatears are seen feeding on the short grass and a pair of Bullfinch are also found. No sign of any Ouzels though, and a walk down to the quarry area via Kingsbury slope doesn't produce any sightings either.
While trying to recover from the steep climb, a singing Yellowhammer is spotted perched at the top of a nearby tree along with Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

Moving on to Startops End Reservoir proves a good move, with the first Swallows, House Martins and Common Terns of the year all found here.
There's also a pair of Red Crested Pochard seen not far from the viewing screen.

Red Crested Pochard
A visit to Bison Hill produces two Bison from the Whipsnade Collection but proves as fruitless as Blows Down for Ouzel sightings, and with the wind and rain blowing straight into the face we decide to head back to the comfort of the car.

A good mornings birding, with five new additions to the year list.

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