With a day free for birding I was struggling to decide where to go. In the end I decided on starting at Staines Reservoir where there have been some good birds recently. This would give me the chance to drop by at my Mums house with some flowers for Mothers Day. I was then thinking of going on to Bushey Park and maybe even the Wetland Centre at Barnes. I rang Pete and he was happy to come with me. We left Swindon at seven and arrived at Staines in just over an hour. The first task was to check out the many pipits on the bank to hopefully find the Water Pipit that has been around for a while. Unfortunately they were all of the Meadow variety. We did however find a couple of Little Ringed Plovers, the first of the year for us both. With the northern basin now fully drained it was hoped
that there would be a few waders. None found. There were however good numbers of Shoveler and Teal and a handful of Shelduck. The chilly North-easterly wind was working its way into our bones as we scanned the southern basin. Here we found three of the regular Black-necked Grebes and the long staying Great Northern Diver. Also a few Goldeneye along with the Tufted Ducks. Several Wigeon were grazing along the top of the bank.
A Red Kite overhead was a site first for me. A chat with some of the locals revealed that the Water Pipit had been seen and that there was a Black Redstart on the slopes of the KGV Reservoir across the road. Despite searching for the best part of an hour neither were found. Moving on we headed over to my Mums house to drop off the flowers. A quick stop as she wasn’t in. Because of the rugby at Twickenham I had decided to give Bushey and Barnes a miss so instead we had a stroll around Osterley Park. The wind was keeping the small birds down but Pete did get his first Ring-necked Parakeet of the year. After seeing a couple of Nuthatches a Little Owl was found in one of the big old trees. They are doing well here as I believe that there are around half-a-dozen in the park.
Where next. Well for some bizarre reason I thought Greenham Common would be a good bet. Wrong!! So following a Kite and buzzard filled drive back along the M4 we had a not very pleasant chilly walk around returning to the car with a grand total of seven species. Crow, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Red Kite and the star a single Stonechat. A cross-country drive to Hungerford got us three Blackbirds and Froxfield turned up four Little Egrets. A brief stop in Savernake to eat a sandwich turned up a Chaffinch and four Great Tits. It should now have been an easy decision to head home but instead I decided to have a look around the Avebury area. Finally we came up trumps with a couple of Brambling (year-tick) in a Chaffinch flock and a Tree Sparrow. So in what was actually an enjoyable day we totted up a meagre day-list of just forty-three species.