Wednesday, 9 January 2008

A Year Of Birding 2007.


2007 started well with a Bean Goose being found on the 2nd January in the fields between Aston & Remenham, it stayed until the 8th January feeding in the fields with Mute Swans. Shortly after both Lesser & Greater Scaup were found together at Sonning Eye pit's in Oxfordshire and on the 4th of January I made a mad dash to see them before it got dark.
Staines produced Great Northern Diver and Black Necked Grebe and then it was down to Wraysbury to see Smew. Bray gravel pits hosted a Slavonian Grebe from the 23rd of January to the 12th of February and I was so pleased to see one I made 2 visits to look at it. A visit to Finchampstead Ridges bought the annual sighting of Firecrest as one flitted through the holly bushes along Dell Road and across the road at Moor Green Lakes the wintering Goosander flock put on a welcome show in the Winter sun.



2 Bitterns put on a good show at Lavell's Lake on the 3rd followed by a Water Rail and singing Cetti's Warbler. It was then off to Hawley near Camberley to see the Yellow-browed Warbler on the 10th, another lifer for me and well worth the visit.On the 11th I made my way to Amwell Gravel pits to see the Little Bunting, fantastic views from the viewpoint and also amazing views of Water Rail as I fed in the open below the watchpoint.Dinton Pastures hosted a single male Red-crested Pochard which I saw on the 18th and another visit to Lavell's Lake on the same day brought good views of a single Bittern. A pair of Grey Partridge wandered through the garden on the 26th February allowing me to get some great photos as they sat in the adjacent paddock, they stayed around for most of the afternoon and then headed off through the fields, not a bad garden tick at all!.The month ended off on a high as I managed to find the single Waxwing in Botley, Oxford on the 27th.

Water Rail
Little Bunting
Red-crested Pochard
Grey Partridge


Finally I found a Barn Owl close to home on the 3rd March just when I was beginning to think they hadn't made it through the Winter. Cropredy in Oxfordshire hosted a Common Crane which stayed faithful to the fields alongside Appletree Road and gave good views although distant at times.

Common Crane


On the 1st a visit to Penn Woods near High Wycombe brought fantastic views of Brambling as they came in to roost, certainly worth a visit to see hundreds of Brambling. I managed to see the Male & female Garganey at Woolhampton gravel pits on the 5th and managed to get some good photos that I sent to birdguides and then it was off to Aston Rowant the next day to catch up with the arriving Ring Ouzels that always stop there on migration. At home on the 9th a lone Grey Partridge wandered through the garden followed hours later by a singing Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. On the 11th another Ring Ouzel turned up, this time at Twyford gravel pits which I couldn't resist going to see, good views as it fed in one of the horse paddocks near the railway bridge. Then on the 29th a trip down to Frampton-on-Severn, Glos, to see the Glossy Ibis invasion with at least 8 individuals present along with a Spotted Redshank, Marbled Duck was also present on the adjacent pools.

Willow Warbler
Ring Ouzel
Glossy Ibis


The month started well with me getting to see Bonaparte's Gull at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon, another lifer for me, I also picked up Artic Tern on the same day. It was then time for the Theale Area Bird Conservation Group(TABCG) annual trip to Wales on the 6th, never disappoints and the highlights were Cuckoo, Dipper, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Common Redstart, Wheatear, Raven and a Tawny Owl perched out in the sun for all to see. Lea Farm, Lavell's Lake hosted 2 Spoonbills on the 14th and a Black Tern at Black Swan Lake Dinton Pastures and sightings of Nightingale, Reed & Garden Warbler and 5 Bullfinch rounded off a good day. My first Hobby of the year drifted over the fields next to temple Island,Remenham whilst I watched the common Terns on the 17th. The annual TABCG Berkshire Bird Race on the 26th provided a great days birding, rather tiring to say the least and after competing in it for 3 years I should be used to it by now, a new team this year and a respectable 98 species, not bad seeing as the winning team recorded 105.

Bonaparte's Gull
Tawny Owl
Common Buzzard
Common Buzzard
Common Tern


The annual TABCG Nightjar walk at Padworth Common as very successful, a few new faces joined us as we attempted to see both Nightjar and Woodcock at dusk. Probably the best views of Nightjar that I've had as two males displayed metres in front of us, Woodcock continually passed over throughout the evening whilst Roding along their territories. Good views of Turtle Dove at RSPB Otmoor as one perched in the trees behind the car park.


The 18th bought my first ever sighting of the rare Purple Emperior as a male flitted across the Warburg Nature Reserve car park, 2 Marsh Tits were using the Niger feeders and were viewed extremely close from the hide next to the information centre. A family party of 7 Mistle Thrush were present in the fields and occasionally using the bird bath, 2 Juvenile Great-spotted Woodpeckers were busy being fed in the garden and the Little Owls had a brood of 2 young.


My first calling Quail for many years was heard on the Berkshire Downs along with good sightings of Wheatear, Grey & Red-legged Partridge. A juvenile Marsh Sandpiper was at Farmoor Reservoir on the 5th and whilst walking back across the causeway to the car park a female Purple Emperor flitted along in front of me before coming to rest on the side of the causeway. Back to Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon on the 12th to see my first ever Purple Heron, 2 Black Tern were also feeding over the F2 reservoir. On the 14th, a wet and miserable day I made my way to Moor Green Lakes, Berks to see the juvenile Little Stint and followed that on the 19th with a Wood Sandpiper at Days Lock near Dorchester, Oxon. An Adult and juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was seen on the 24th at Borough Marsh, Berks and I finished the month off back at Days Lock, Dorchester adding Ruff to my year list. Tawny & Little Owls were a regular visitor around the gardens, 3 juvenile Green Woodpeckers were often seen feeding with their parents in the paddock, 2 Marsh Tits were regular visitors to the feeders and also Stoat and Badger were both seen around the garden.

Purple Emperor
Little Owl
Juvenile Little Owl


A trip over to Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon on the 29th gave me fantastic views of Grey Phalarope and whilst watching it an Artic Skua flew low over the reservoir before gaining height and flying off out of sight. Badger sightings at the start of month were regular with at least one individual being seen next to the cottage and along the driveway. Tawny and Little Owls were also regular sightings around the garden and along Shogmoor Lane, Frieth throughout the month as were Sparrowhawk.

Grey Phalarope


A family holiday in Kalkan, Turkey, between the 1st-8th added 23 species to my life list and the bonus of watching Red-backed Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush and numerous Raptors from the villa roof was very appealing, a little known area of South West Turkey with very good potential due to the varied habitat. The day after I returned from Turkey the news broke of a mega sighting at Farmoor Reservoir on the 9th, A Buff-bellied Pipit was present along the far end of the causeway and despite the weather being terrible the Pipit was very obliging and allowed me to add it to my life list. My last trip of the month took me to Wishmoor Bottom, Berks to see Great Grey Shrike and then off to Pagham Harbour where I managed to see Pomarine Skua on the mudflats and a flock of Common Scooter at sea at Church Norton.

Rock Nuthatch
Blue Rock Thrush


On the 17th a female/immature Merlin swooped low over the road at the top of Shogmoor Lane, Frieth, Bucks, my first of the year. A day later I made the trip over to Wigmore Lane, Theale, Berks to see the Greater Scaup and Ferruginous Duck, both birds were found by Theale birder Ken Moore and both are still present.


A trip to see the Juvenile White-tailed Eagle(Sea Eagle) at Shipton Bellinger was unsuccessful although I did have good views of Raven and Peregrine. The Eagle is still present and I will certainly try again in 2008. A visit up to the Berkshire Downs on the 22nd brought good views of both Short-eared Owls and a female Hen Harrier, and a small flock of Brambling near home at Chisbridge Lane, Frieth ended the year.

2007 Year List Total = 212
2007 Garden Year List = 49

Species added to my Life List = 35

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