Birding this week started on Wednesday with a trip to the Water Park to see if the Temminks Stint and Wood Sandpipers were still around on Pit 87. Unfortunately there was no sign of them. However it was nice to revisit this part of the Park as I haven’t covered it for quite a while. A Little Ringed Plover at Kent End was the best bird seen. The following day having finished work early I went to 87 again with the same result. Twitchers Gate did turn up my first of the year seen rather than heard Garden Warbler for Wiltshire. Friday evening saw myself and Pete heading for Savernake on the trail of the Nightjar. On the way we stopped along the Kennet at Axford where we heard Cuckoo and saw Yellowhammer, Linnet and Corn bunting. Parking on the Grand Avenue at a little before nine we both commented on how the temperature was dropping. A Hare crossed the road nearby, a deer was barking and two Cuckoos were heard. After a while a Woodcock flew over followed a little later by two more passes. Male and Female Tawny Owls were calling and also some youngsters which were quite close. We left at a quarter past ten with no sight or sound of Nightjar. Unusually no bats were seen either, maybe due to the low temperature. On Saturday morning I went to Wootton Bassett to do some shopping so stopped for a walk along the Wilts & Berks Canal path. Plenty to see and hear with plenty of Warblers including several Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler. It seems that there aren’t that many of the latter around this year. A very confiding Heron was watched as it successfully hunted in the reeds.
A total of twenty-four species were noted here including quite a few broods of Mallard.
That should have been it for the day as I had planned to spend the afternoon in the garden. However a quick look at Twitter just after lunch had me heading of to the Gloucestershire side of the Water Park as a Red-necked Phalarope had been found on Lake 125. When I arrived there was just one birder there and he was on the other side of the water. After a few minutes scanning I found the bird out in the middle of the Lake. A very small bird on a big piece of Water. A great find by Ian Ralphs. This is a Sailing Lake was interesting watching the bird as it fed, apparently unconcerned by the boats passing close by. While I was here a few other locals arrived to enjoy this rarity. We assumed that it was probably the same bird as had been at Slimbridge and also as turned up in Berkshire on Sunday. S it was back to the garden and an interesting afternoon as we were clearing out an old pond. Amongst lots of Newts and Snails we also found some Dragonfly Larvae. Also seen was a colourful small moth which as I cannot find my moth book is currently unidentified and a Broad-bodied Chaser.
On Sunday we took the dog for a walk in Savernake. Mid-afternoon is not the best time for birds in this habitat and we only saw a few. Four Song Thrushes being the most numerous.