Thursday, 11 October 2007

Buff-bellied Pipit - Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon. 9th October 2007.

On my return from Turkey I sifted through the hundreds of email I'd received and was amazed to see a Buff-bellied Pipit had been found at Farmoor reservoir, Oxon, this is an extremely rare visitor to this country and to have one turn up in Oxfordshire is a fantastic county record.I had never seen one before and decided that a visit to Farmoor was a must. Well I got a shock when I woke up, the weather was terrible and then rain just didn't look like it was going to ease up, It's one thing waking up to Eagles soaring outside your Villa in the hot dry Autumn weather of Southwest Turkey and another waking up to a cold wet English Autumn day!. I decided to brave the weather as the Buff-bellied is an unmissable species to see, who knows when another would turn up.
The M40 was a nightmare and visibility was terrible but I made it all the same despite a number of numbskulls driving along the motorway with no lights on, but that's another story. At Farmoor I made my way into the Thames Water gatehouse and was told that for a small donation that all birders could drive round to the far side of the reservoir were the Pipit was, I duly obliged and coughed up a quid, anything to save me getting wet on the walk across the causeway was a bonus.
The Buff-bellied Pipit was still present along with 50 or so excited birdwatchers, it was on the causeway at the Pinkhill side of the reservoir along with a couple of Rock Pipits. It was still raining but that certainly wasn't going to put anybody off watching this rare American species. It continued feeding along the waters edge on the F1 reservoir before flying up on to the causeway, this caused a quick shuffle of places and soon everybody was back on it again before it dropped down from the causeway and out of sight on the F2 side. This behaviour carried on and off for 10 minutes or so with a least one Rock Pipit in close attendance. As the rain started to ease off the Buff-bellied Pipit took flight and flew out across F1 before turning back towards the causeway and settling down behind us, another quick shuffle around and we watched as it stood by the waters edge. It showed extremely well with views of around 20ft and most of us got fantastic views, it continued up and down the waters edge for 3 or 4 minutes before taking flight and heading northwards over the F1 reservoir, it continued out across the water and then turned West and finally landed on the west side of F1 by the number 3 marker. I decided to leave as I was rather wet now and felt that the bird was going to get a lot more onlookers and probably needed a bit of privacy. At 8am on the 10th October the Buff-bellied Pipit flew off Northwest with 3 Rock Pipits and was not located again.

Photos can bee seen in the log book page on Nic Hallams excellent website

Added To My Year List.

203. Buff-bellied Pipit
204. Rock Pipit

Added To My Life List.

295. Buff-bellied Pipit

No comments: