The second exciting discovery occurred closer to home at the Queen Mother Reservoir in Berkshire this past week. An American Buff-bellied Pipit was discovered on Thursday feeding on the banks of the reservoir, and it wasn't long before every birder and his dog had been to see it – apart from me, that is. I couldn't go over to the reservoir on Thursday or Friday due to work commitments but despite working yesterday I found time first thing to travel up the M25 for the twitch.
I read there were strict orders to arrive after 9am to gain a permit – the one good thing about birding at this time of year is you don't have to get up early – as the reservoir is private property and on a normal day only the local yacht club and a select band of birders are permited to access the site.
Fortunately, due to the predicted interest in this very rare American vagrant, the Berkshire Ornithological Club set up access to the reservoir for eager birders, with permits given out for a £2 fee. They did a fine job.
|The Buff-bellied Pipit attracted many admirers|
|The Buff-bellied Pipit came to within a few feet of its spectators|
It wasn't quite as engaging as the Desert Wheatear at Worthing last month, but it still made a pleasant change from trudging for miles to see some speck in the distance that might fly off at any moment. I only had an hour and a half to spare before I had to head back to Redhill to get the train for work at Racing Post, so this was just as well.
I have to admit at this point if it wasn't for the fact I knew it was there and at least 100 other birders had migrated to the same place and it was so tame I could have fed it, it is entirely likely I could have passed it off as a Meadow or Rock Pipit in other circumstances.
It proves how good some birders are at observation and identifying bird species and also how I much I have to learn.
|The Long-tailed Duck at the Queen Mother Reservoir|
So an easy twitch to start the weekend. Next stop is, all being well, Suffolk on Tuesday.
Footnote: Next week – the 2012 Randon's Ramblings Birding Awards