Thursday, 25 January 2018

American Horned Lark

Prior to Christmas we made a trip to Staines Reservoir to see the American Horned Lark, the weather at the time was none too clever and we did eventually see the bird, at a range of 200+ yards. Of course no photographs, which meant a return visit but the bird disappeared before we could arrange a visit. However, this week the bird returned to its favoured place on the concrete bank of the reservoir and, judging from the photographs on Twitter, was somewhat closer.

This time the walk across the long causeway between the two sections of reservoir was made in pleasant sunshine. The greeting as we joined the assembled birders was much the same as always. "Flew off 15 minutes ago - not been seen since". Patience was rewarded a few minutes later as the bird flew back to a position just below where we were stood. Unfortunately the prevailing light conditions were not optimal - who cares? At least this time we got some reasonable record shots and I have the feeling that we could have stayed all day for no improvement.


Next venue was a new one for me, Stocker's Lake LNR at Rickmansworth Aquadrome. Target species here were the recently reported Red Crested Pochards and after Martin gleaned advice from another birder we were on our way, unfortunately on the wrong side of the lake. No problem, we retraced our steps and Martin soon found three birds skulking under cover of some sunken trees. Fortunately a passing  birder informed us that he had seen others and that these were out in the open. Well they were, just as we arrived at the spot they left the water and promptly went to sleep.

The walk back to the car park gave us another couple of year ticks but not decent  photographs. Ring-necked Parakeet and Siskins were high up in the bankside trees.

On the way home we called into Capel churchyard,  looking for the reported Hawfinches, nothing present. Oddly enough just before we entered the village I had spotted a small flock of ten or twelve birds high up in a tree. Stupidly we ignored them, confident that we would soon be snapping away in the churchyard. Never look a gift horse etc.

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