Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Tuesday 4 January 2011


Having spent most of the past couple of days dealing with family matters I left Annie at her parent's house this afternoon and made my way home to finish off a job that was due to go to print this week.

On the way down from Hitchin I had to go via Heathrow on the M25, and seeing as I had made up good time and it was only a five-minute detour off the motorway, I dropped in at Staines Resevoir in the hope the Velvet Scoter was still about. I didn't have my scope or camera with me, just a pair of bins that are always in the car.

I wasn't going to focus so much on Staines this year, as I'm trying to get a list together using the Surrey border prior to Spelthorne's inclusion, but I couldn't resist it.

Walking up the causeway I met up with Staines patchmeister, Ken Purdey, and - at long last - top Tice's Meadow birder and new birding buddy, Rich Seargent. The Scoter had predictably flown off and had apparently relocated on the Queen Mother Reservoir, so there wasn't much about. A group of Smew had been present, but they had also disappeared.

I spent the next quarter of an hour chatting to Rich, when Ken, who had been quietly getting on with scanning the water, commented: "I'm just going to walk up to the other end of the reservoir, because I think I've seen a couple of Slavonian Grebes."

Slovanian Grebes! Both Rich and I joined Ken on the trek up the causeway. And sure enough, Ken was spot on. Two sleeping Slavonian Grebes were drifting across the south basin. What a great find, and typically, had nothing to do with my birding skills whatsoever. I took a good look using both Rich and Ken's scopes, and after staying for a few minutes to drink in the discovery, we left.

So, a great and unexpected start to January, and I haven't been out for a full day yet (my list is stuttering on 24 so far). Next stop, my local patch at Holmethorpe.

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