Sunday, 20 January 2013

Grim Weather...Good Birding!

I arrived at Beddington Farm just before the snow started falling found a place in the hide with the brothers, Tank and Dodge. The landfill does not work on Sunday therefore the gull numbers are low, this gives anything passing overhead more opportunity to drop in for a breather! Well nothing dropped in but a Grey Plover was heard above and quickly located flying south. The snow was relentless and bird movement was limited to a few Lapwing and Fieldfare.

At 11.30am movement had all but dried up and it was time to move on and visit The London Wetlands Centre (LWC) for the afternoon. Bearded Reedlings have been seen and more often heard in recent times and this species was a Surrey VC tick for me. There was a Smew present and of course a good chance of seeing Bittern as well.

I stopped briefly at Beddington Park Pond noting two Egyptian Goose before setting off for the LWC. The journey was good with very little traffic on the road. On arrival I subscribed to a years membership and then walked down towards the Peacock Hide stopping off to view approximately thirty Siskins that were at the feeders.

(Siskin Male)

I walked the Sheltered lagoon which was partially frozen but could not see the Smew here we go again!! Once in the Peacock hide I scanned the lakes and grazing marsh I eventually saw the Smew which was a dot on the Sheltered lagoon. A Bittern was seen briefly but having missed it I decided to walk to the Wildside hide and chance my luck with the "Beardies". As I entered the hide a Bittern was being watched in the reed-bed at the far side of the lagoon. I watched this bird for a short while and then turned my attention to the reed-beds on the other side of the hide. A long wait later and the Bearded Reedlings were heard calling but could I find them sadly not!

I have a few simple rules to my bird listing which incidentally is worked out for me by Wildlife Recorder. A lifer, a county or patch first all have to be seen before they can be counted. Thereafter I count heard species! On that basis the "Beardies" were not going to be a Surrey VC tick today!

Gannets (Tices Meadow & Mitcham Common) and Bewick's Swans (Knaphill and Tices Meadow) were seen in Surrey VC today and with the bad weather continuing more rarities will turn up for sure!

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