On a very cold but bright morning 10 members met in the Visitors Centre at Hanningfield Reservoir. Once again we enjoyed the warmth of the centre and with hot drinks watched the birds through the large windows, some on the feeders in the bird garden and others on the reservoir beyond. We saw a pair of stock doves, dunnock, pheasant, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, robin, magpie and also a squirrel. Out on the reservoir we could see only mallards and cormorants
It was very tempting to remain in the warmth of the centre, as in fact one member did and he was well rewarded, but the rest of us ventured out and visited all four of the hides that look out onto the reservoir. Fortunately they yielded more than mallards and cormorants, although they were here too, and we spotted wigeon, grey herons, great-crested grebe, greylag geese, black-headed gull, little grebe, moorhen, coot, golden eye, mute swan, canada geese and tufted duck.
Walking between the hides through woodland we saw long-tailed tits, jackdaw, pied wagtail, wren, sparrow, blackbird, magpie and rook.
We made our way back to the warmth of the centre for lunch and were pleased to hear that the member who had remained at the centre had seen goldcrests, coal tit and greenfinch in the bird garden and brent geese and pochard out on the reservoir. He was also the only lucky member to see an osprey flying across the reservoir. Ospreys visit every continent except Antarctica. They are migrants returning to Europe from Africa each Spring normally April. They need a regular supply of fish, which they catch during spectacular feet first dives into the water. Their wingspan can be up to 1.7m and their weight up to 2kg.
Birds identified – a Pair of Stock Doves, Mallard, Pheasant, Blue, Great, Coal & Long-tailed Tits, Sparrow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Tufted Duck, Canada, Brent & Greylag Geese, Coot, Cormorant, Moorhen, Goldeneye, Black-headed Gull, Little & Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Wigeon, Pochard and Squirrel and finally the sighting of the Osprey flying across the reservoir.
Thanks once again to Joy Deacon for recording the day’s events.
The next group meeting is at Abbotts Hall Farm on Wednesday 10th April meeting in the car park at 10 a.m.
On the 8th May the group is meeting at Wick Farm, Burnham-on-Crouch at 10 a.m. and it is hoped that Martin Smith, who runs the farm, will be available to give us a short talk on what is going on at the farm with regard to birds and wildlife in general, and advise us what we are likely to see and where, so please do arrive promptly.
Bird watching in Western Australia March 2013
I was not present at Hanningfield Reservoir but recorded the birds my husband and I saw on the same day. Since last month we have driven from South Australia to Western Australia………Loud ‘aark, aark, aarhs’ and harsh metallic abrupt ‘chzink, chzink, chzinks’ woke me, no it was not my husband exercising his vocal chords in the shower but the voices of the Australian Ravens and Galahs in the trees nearby. We were staying a few days on the coast just south of Fremantle, Western Australia and because we were travelling on today, not far, and also meeting a friend for lunch we I thought it would be an unpromising day for bid sightings, but I was wrong.
With some time to spare before lunch we went to Peppermint Grove on the banks of the Swan River and seated in a park saw on land Crested Pigeon, Willie Wagtail, Magpie Lark, Silver Gull, Welcome Swallow, Grey Butcherbird, Red-wattle Bird, Spotted Turtle Dove, Diamond Dove, Magpie, Little Corellas and Australian Ringneck. There are four species of the latter the one here being the Twenty-eight Parrot so named because its call sounds just like the words twenty-eight. On the water were only Pacific Black Duck and Darter.
Early that evening we sat on the sand dunes to watch the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. The beach, at least 5kms long, had just a scattering of people. On a wooden jetty sat Australian Pelicans hoping for scraps from a fisherman. A Crested Tern patrolled the shallow waters diving at intervals for small fish. Noisy Silver Gulls cackled to each other, arching their backs and then bending and rubbing their chests in the sand. The sky was clear with just a few horizontal clouds and we watched as the sun slowly dropped the colours changing from pale blues and yellows to darker blues and gold. Gentle waves caught the light and as the water receded left shimmering reflections on the sand. Just before the sun finally sunk below the horizon a dolphin passed by rising partially out of the water at frequent intervals. Another perfect day.