Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Surrey Quays Part II !

Having done the rounds on the birding internet sites I noticed that the female Long Tailed Duck had returned to Canada Water at Surrey Quays. The journey to Canada Water is a tube ride from where I work so I packed my binoculars and SLR along with my Spanish books this morning. On the train I feel like Kojak aged 4 reading “Ricitos de Oro y los tres osos” in the morning but despite some strange looks its good practice time.

At work I have managed to generate some interest in my hobby through my blog and adventures in Paraguay. The topic this week was the small article in The Metro about the invasion at Trimley Marshes at the weekend and yes I was one of the many to invade the small village on Sunday!

Entering into the spirit of things I mentioned that I had visited Surrey Quays on Saturday and the Long Tailed Duck had hidden itself away only for that day though! This caused some mild amusement!

Today was going to be different, confident I was going to see the bird I trotted off onto the District line changing at Westminster getting on the Jubilee line to Canada Water. Easy!
(Long Tailed Duck)
On first look at the small area of water I could not see the bird but then it popped up on the far side of the water. I walked round and I guess it had been expecting me waving its wings as it flapped bolt upright in the water. “I’m here over here!” Told you I had been reading kids storybooks!
(Long Tailed Duck)
“What took you so long I’ve been here for ages?!” The female then swam around on its own keeping a safe distance away from me. I didn’t have any bread therefore could not test that theory out! I certainly would not expect to see a Long Tailed Duck at this time of year and this one was sticking around! But the weather has thrown in some late surprises this year!
(Common Tern)
The other species of note were Common Tern. They were resting on the row of pontoons between fishing expeditions. Too many more visits here and I will have a site list! 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Swift journey to Suffolk!

I was surprised to see news from Rbn this morning of the Pacific Swift still present at Trimley Marshes SWT Suffolk. I just presumed it would be a one day bird and would move on!

The rain did not look as though it was coming but it was cloudy so a good chance the Swift will stick around to complete its second day. So off I went a two and a bit hour drive in light traffic which is always nice.
I parked near Trimley Railway station and with backpack on I started to follow the odd birder towards the reserve. Little did I know at the time I was embarking on 2 – 3 mile yomp. Quiet a pleasant yomp as it turned out despite hoards of birders walking in the opposite direction to me. Was this a bad sign?!

I passed Beddington regulars Pyro and Gripper who informed me the bird was being seen every forty five minutes and patience was the order of the day. I can do that I thought and off I yomped! I had missed out on training this week having been a bit under the weather but this got the heart rate back into working order!

I spoke to Roy Weller on the sea wall and set up and began scanning the swifts that were at all levels in the distance. There was plenty of cloud with the odd spatter of rain which hopefully would push the insects and the birds lower in the sky. The Pacific Swift was picked up a couple of times in the distance but even though the observers were describing the location I was unable to get my scope on it!

Fortunately the bird obliged by coming closer visiting the pool in front of me but only for about half a minute. I locked the bins on the bird which stood out from the other swifts with its white rump and followed it until it turned and flew back to whence it came. Nice one another lifer in the bag! Thanks must go to the commentary team either side of me!
(Avocet & Spotted Redshank combo!)
Two Spotted Redshank were on the pool to the right of me along with a Black tailed Godwit and several Avocet. I set up my digi-scoping kit which does not get much use these days. I do need to work on this part of my game but got a record shot of one bird before kitting up for the march back to the car.

The drive home always seems quicker when you see your target bird!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Day at the Quays!

There have been regular reports of a Long Tailed Duck at Surrey Quays. The Quays are a part of the Surrey Vice County recording area hence the visit. The origins of this bird were unknown with reports it had taken bread on occasion. Throughout the week I have been monitoring the rbnUK messages and the Surrey Bird Club website run by Dave Harris. The bird had been reported Friday so with the weekend in sight I decided to use my railcard and take a jaunt up there to see the bird for myself.

Three trains and 50 minutes later I was stepping out of Canada Water overground station to view Surrey Quays shopping centre and a small area of water which held quite a few ducks and other regular species.
(Great Cormorant)
Two carp anglers were set up at the bottom of a small ramp so the fish stakes must be healthy here which explained the presence of the Cormorant and the Grey Heron.
(Grey Heron)
House Martin were hawking insects over the water and Reed Warbler were heard and seen in the small patches of reeds. A small platform held Egyptian Goose.

(Egyptian Goose)

Oh if you hadn’t guessed there was no sign of the Long Tailed Duck but I was still keen to look around this new location to my birding travels. I grabbed lunch from Tesco’s and walked through a small underpass which led me to larger quay which hosted sailing and canoeing and some resourceful breeding Coot and Great Crested Grebe. Sand Martin had also occupied a pipe just above water level. Not bad I thought for a site surrounded by concrete buildings!
(Great Crested Grebe)
The weather by now was looking grim so I made my way back to the station and just as I got back to Surrey Quay the British weather did not disappoint with the heavens opening!

Rain is forecast tomorrow!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Bee-eater Bonanza!

Another bird that keeps eluding me is the European Bee-Eater. Many sightings are flyovers and with that you have to be there to see or hear it. A single bird had been frequenting the Pegwell Bay area and looking at today’s weather there was a good chance it would stick around for a while.

I arrived at the site at around 12.30pm and was informed that the bird had not been seen for around half an hour. I walked the area chatting to other birders hoping for an update on the bird but things were looking grim!

After over an hour there was the first report of views of the bird in the central area behind the hide. This area was a mix of low bushes small trees and scrub.

After wandering between areas the bird had been seen Duncan and I had the briefest of views of the bird in flight. I went along the outer path to investigate when further views of the bird hawking bees emerged.
(European Bee-eater)
The bird was very mobile and was feeding utilising the whole area, and perched up on bushes allowing the small gathering of birders good views.

(European Bee-eater)
Another bug bird bites the dust!