A Lifer and Five types of Geese

After much deliberation yesterday evening Pete and I decided on a trip to Moor Green NR in Berkshire to try for the Pallas’s Leaf Warbler that has been knocking around for a while. After a drive along the M4 and a tour of the moneyed lanes of South Berkshire we bagged the last space in the small car park at Moor Green, a new site for us both. A muddy walk through the reserve took us to the Blackwater River where the Warbler was, hopefully to be found. We soon found the flock of Long-tailed Tits with which the Warbler had been associating. Pete had a brief glimpse of what may have been the bird but not a good enough view to be sure. In the company of a few other birders and photographers we headed west along the river, over the conveyor bridge to the grey box, apparently it’s favoured area. Here we were told that it had given great views “in that tree just there” about five minutes ago. So there we stood for the next hour, to be honest, not really my type of birding. There was however plenty more to look at on what was a fairly pleasant morning. A Snow Goose of unknown origin was feeding with some Barnacle Geese. A year tick? make up your own mind i suppose. Also seen were Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese, Lapwing and plenty of gulls. Eventually the crowd headed back east and we followed them for a while. We then decided to go back to our original spot, stay a few minutes and then if we didn’t find the bird to head off. As it happens we struck lucky as it appeared on the far bank of the river, then flying across and giving great views right in front of us. Along with trying to get a view of the crown stripe as it constantly flitted around I managed to get a couple of poor pictures. Mission accomplished we headed back to the car adding a few more species to the day list on the way. Our original plan was to go into Reading for Firecrest but we gave this a miss. Instead we went deep into Red Kite country to Cholsey Marsh for Great Grey Shrike. Another new area for us both. Parking in Ferry Lane we didn’t really know where we should be looking so after a soggy walk along the Thames we returned to the car for a bit of lunch. From here we scanned the marsh and almost immediately Pete found the Shrike in a hedgerow, after just a few seconds it flew, giving a brief but good view before disappearing across the Thames. After this and feeling pretty pleased with ourselves we were off again. Next site was to be Farmoor with a quick look in at Appleford Pit were we found around a dozen Red Kite and several hundred corvids on the adjoining rubbish tip. At Farmoor we couldn’t find either Scaup or Slavonian Grebe. Greylag Geese were feeding on the nearby fields, the fifth species of goose for the day.At least thirty Goldeneye were around and we had a brief view of a Kingfisher as it flew across the reservoir towards the river. Best of all here was a Barn Owl hunting along the grassy bank of the reservoir until a heavy rain shower saw it heading for cover. So ended a great day of birding in a not for us, often visited area.


6 responses to “A Lifer and Five types of Geese

  1. Malcolm, That was a nice day out and Pallas Warbler is a nice sight. In view of our previous discussion I dread to say this but my uncle used to be a charge nurse at the hospital in Cholsey. There must be somewhere I dont have relatives although I have probably run out of them now. I hope you picked up on Kim’s Sibe Chiffchaff, it does seem to be in one specific area.

    • It was a most enjoyable day. As for your geographical connections, well what can I say. Back at work tomorrow so no chance of the Sibe this week, lucky it is only a sub-species.

  2. Trevor Clayson

    Hi Malcolm

    We found the Slavonian Grebe on F1 by the round concrete building just as the heavens opened, which had us sprinting for cover in the toilet down the bank, there was also a Red Kite overhead at the time. The rainbow was splendid, we could see it from the doorway. After the rain stopped we went back and watched the Grebe until we got too cold, that wind was something else. Birds are tougher than us.The Barn Owl was still around at 4:15 just before we left. Like you no sign of the Scaup today. Was it you we spoke to on the causeway when we said we’d seen the Barn Owl? If so sorry for not recognizing you.

    Trevor & Sue

    • Hi Trevor,

  3. Trevor Clayson

    Yes. Sue thought you looked familiar but couldn’t put a name to the face at the time. I’m just hopeless.

    • I am just the same. Still glad you found the Grebe, strange about the Scaup. I wonder where they have gone?

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