Sunday, 26 October 2008

Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon. Foxcote Reservoir & Linford NR, Bucks. 25th Oct 2008.

Male & Female Gadwall

Arriving at Farmoor I made my way to the fishing hut near the boat club to renew my Thames Water permit and after doing so headed off along the causeway. The reservoirs were very quiet and with few birds to be seen I continued along the causeway passing a number of Pied Wagtails that took to the air from the waters edge and flew up and over me. As I approached the wooden huts in the centre of the causeway I again viewed the reservoirs, 2 Cormorants perched on floating buoys were so far the best birds to be seen and it wasn't till I had got almost to the west side of the reservoir did that change. The call of a Pipit alerted me to it's presence and after scanning along the waters edge on both sides of the causeway I found a Water Pipit searching for insects, a very clean looking individual showing a obvious pale eye-stripe and two white wingbars. After viewing it as it fed along the waters edge I attempted to digiscope it but due to the ferocity of the wind blowing across the reservoir it became impossible, on a number of occasions the wind did it's best to blow my scope over and when it did die down the Water Pipit flew up and over me and headed off further down the causeway.

I then headed to Foxcote, Bucks, to catch up with the returning Ring-necked Duck that is usually faithful to the Foxcote Reservoirs at this time of year. I arrived at the hide just before a rain shower passed over and finding myself the only observer in the hide started the search for the Ring-necked Duck. I soon found the Ring-necked-Duck in the same place I had seen it in previous years, it was tucked up alongside the reeds on the western side of the reservoir asleep and I had a strange feeling of Déjà vu, every time I have been to see the Ring-necked Duck at Foxcote it's always asleep on the western side of the reservoir and in almost the same spot.

After waiting a good thirty minutes the duck finally started to preen and shake it feathers free of the last passing rain shower that had now cleared and brought with it a stiff breeze that whipped the tops of the water. The Ring-necked duck bobbed up and down whilst preening and at last I got some good views of the bird, the white banding to the bill and around the base of the bill, dusky grey flanks and the peaked crown were now clear to see and for at least five minutes it remained in full view. It was all to good to be true and it soon resumed it's usual posture as it put it's head back under it's wing and went to sleep. Fantastic Duck but my memories of it will always be that every time I saw it, it was asleep. The reservoir had good numbers of Wigeon present along with large rafts of Coot. Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant and a single Ruddy Duck were also present.

Off to Linford Nature Reserve, Bucks next where I was hoping to catch up with another long staying Osprey. Having "dipped" on the Piccotts End Osprey on 3 occasions the news that a Juvenile had been sighted a number of times in a tree behind Blackhorse Lake made it perfect sense to go and have a look whilst in the area. Viewing from the overflow car park with a number of birders including Lee Evans we waited for the bird to return to it's pre-roost tree, sadly after nearly 2 hours the Osprey didn't show. I left feeling a bit disappointed but the sight of 2 Barn Owls quartering the fields near the overflow car park soon lifted the sprits.

Added To my Year List.

211. Water Pipit
212. Ring-necked Duck (Foxcote Reservoir, Bucks)

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