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.

Wednesday 14 September 2011


When Twitter flashed up a tweet that there was a Grey Phalarope on the Queen Mary Reservoir this morning, it was only going to be a question of time when I decided to go for a look.

I'd already managed to dip a Dunlin that had been present on the Water Colour Lagoons for the past couple of days. A Dunlin isn't normally a bird I'd dive out to see, especially as I've already seen a couple this year on the patch, but this one was a bit different because it was showing fantastically well to less than ten feet away, very close to the footpath that splits the two Lagoons.

I went over twice but just couldn't find it anywhere. Bloody ridiculous. Dunlin blindness stuck me big time. Still, the prospect of seeing a Grey Phalarope was too tempting, although the fact the original sighting was mentioned as a Phalarope sp. didn't bode well.

I've not been to this reservoir before, and I knew as soon as I arrived just after 6pm I wouldn't vote this the most popular site in the world. The reservoir is massive, and while you can see quite a bit of it from both sides of the Yacht Club, you needed the Hubble Telescope to get a good view of the west or southern edges and even then it was going to be desperately hard to identify anything.

There were plenty of 'Commic' Terns around, but I had no hope of seeing a bird that was about 20 cms long about ten miles away.

So, I gave it up. The bird may well have been there, but I was foolhardy if I thought I would be successful.

I went via Staines Reservoir on the way home and met up with Franko Maroevic and Ken Purdey. Plenty of gulls around including a juvenile Little Gull on the north basin. Other birds of interest were a Common Sandpiper and a Wheatear on the west bank of the south basin.

I'm working in London all day tomorrow, so let's hope Friday brings something local, and not on a reservoir the size of Lake Superior, to shout about.

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