22 February 2014

Bittern again

Made the most of the fine weather and spent a few hours thrashing the patch before meeting up with Sue, Wendy Marks and Peter Alfrey mid afternoon who I took on a short guided tour of Staines Moor. Unfortunately things were rather quiet, the Short-eared Owl failed to show, and we had no luck finding any Woodcock after dark either (have they migrated already?). The undoubted highlight was the Bittern seen very briefly flying into roost at 17:44, and 37+ Common Snipe (including 34 together in the south-east marsh) is my highest ever site count.

Other birds logged throughout the day include 2 Water Pipit, 8 (6m, 2f) Stonechat (including 4m and 2f together in the same bush at one point), 5 Little Egret, 1(H) Cetti's Warbler, 8 Northern Lapwing, 1 Red Kite over SE, 2 Little Grebe, 1f Kestrel, 10 Linnet, 8 Reed Bunting (1 singing), 5+ Skylark (several singing), 50+ Fieldfare, 29 Redwing, 2 Pied Wagtail, 12+ Meadow Pipit, 1+ Goldcrest (old railway), 4 Stock Dove, 1+ Mistle Thrush, 4 Canada Goose over S, and an adult Great Black-backed Gull over W.

The water levels have dropped quite a bit on the Moor, but the Wraysbury is still in flood. Continuing the bizarre fish encounters, I had a Northern Pike Esox lucius swimming around my feet in torch-light on the 'footpath' beside the flooded Wraysbury River while on the way back to the car (pan species patch tick!).

Many thanks to Sue, Wendy and Pete for being great company (for more on today's birding check out Wendy's blog here, and Pete's blog here).

One of five Little Egrets present today

Stonechats everywhere! Eight today, including six together (five in this pic).

A Northern Pike Esox lucius swimming around on the 'footpath' alongside the flooded Wraysbury River this evening - bonkers! I
guess some fish will find themselves stranded as the floods recede.


  1. Flocks of Stonechat, carrier-bags full of Snipe and the pike around your legs, and still 'rather quiet'? Easy to underestimate one's patch (not that you do), but brilliant stuff, really.

    1. Ha ha, you're right. Unfortunately most of these sightings were before the guided tour, which was a shame.