A Big Surprise at the Water Park

I had decided not to go on the WOS walk to Greenham Common, instead I headed off for a morning at the Water Park. I started at Twitchers where there was plenty of action. The Nightingale was singing from deep in the hedgerow and a Cuckoo was calling from Pit 95. Amongst others, Sedge and Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were also in full voice. Sand Martins, Swallows and my first Swifts of the year were feeding low over the lake as was a single Common Tern. A check of the scrape came up with very little of interest. Another Cuckoo started calling from the direction of Waterhay and eventually I found it sat high on a tree across the lake, another year tick. I then drove to Waterhay where after a quick check on the Whimbrel field (nothing) I set off along the Thames Path. My intention was to walk to the Reed Hides, spend a while there and the back along the path past 68A. Warblers a plenty again with six species seen and two others heard. I was pleased to get good views of a Garden Warbler but despite plenty of Reed Warblers being heard not one was seen. A check of the scrape from the far hide found a single Oystercatcher, I could hear Curlews but couldn’t see them. A pair of Wigeon were amongst the Coot and Tufted Ducks on the lake. A Treecreeper was a good find in the trees here. From the Reed Hide I saw a few Reed Buntings, two Red Crested Pochard and some Coot chicks.

The walk back was pleasant with another sighting of Cuckoo and also of three Curlews and a Whimbrel flying off of the scrape. On the way back to Twitchers I looked in at Kent End, just Little Grebe added here. Back on 74 and there was a bit more action on the scrape with Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Common Sandpiper seen. I was joined by Bob Philpott and we both spent some time trying for a picture of a Whitethroat that was nest building in a clump of bushes.

Almost everytime it perched it was hidden behind teasels. Bob was just getting ready to go when he saw four large birds approaching from the east. A quick look with the bins and we realised that they were Cranes, they briefly circled before dropping down out of sight behind some trees between 74 and 68. After a flurry of activity on our phones to get the news out we started scanning the area they had landed in. After a few minutes they appeared as they moved in a line along the bank at the back of the area between the lakes. When they came out in the open we could see that as we had suspected they were all ringed birds. Presumably from the Slimbridge / Somerset release project. By now things were getting crowded as local birders alerted by the text messages started to arrive. Rounding off an excellent day two more Whimbrels were found on the scrape.  In all sixty-seven species were seen or heard.

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2 responses to “A Big Surprise at the Water Park

  1. Nigel managed to get the colour ring combinations so we can say there was a 2010 female (presumably the one with red head) and two 2012 birds – 2 males and a female. The Project website even gives their names.

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