Ducking Along the M4

Yesterday my daughter came home from Uni for a presentation evening at her old school so I volunteered to take her back to London. We went last night and stayed at my Mums house. This morning after dropping daughter off at her placement I paid a quick visit to Osterley Park to get Parakeet on the year-list. The one time of year that I actually bother with them. A nice bonus was a close up Green Woodpecker, heard only previously this year. After a bit of brekkie back at Mums I headed for the M4 and home. I had a bit of a plan which was to go for the Ring-necked Duck at Bray and the Smew just outside of Reading. I went to Bray for the same reason last year and was unsuccessful so had my fingers crossed this time. I parked near to the sailing club and headed off over the river and along the very muddy path. More work for the new wellies, I think I shall be in them a lot  for next few trips out. Reaching the motorway end of the lack I started to check out the Tufty flock and quickly found the Ring-necked amongst them. A very smart bird with its grey flanks and white rings on the bill. A genuine bird or not? Who cares it was good to see. Along with the rest of the birds it stayed on the far side of the water, a testing distance for my camera but I tried anyway.

Then it was back to the motorway and off to Henley Road. A new site for me but having checked the map yesterday it was found with no problems. The approach through Sonning village being very pleasant. definitely out of my price range. Arriving at the parking area I spotted a couple of other birders who when I spoke to them said that they had seen the red-head but not the drake. Scanning the edge of the reeds where it had last been seen I got Wigeon and Shoveler but nothing else. However a check of the open water soon found the gorgeous oh so white drake, another great bird. This time way to distant to attempt a picture. It made a change going somewhere other than the Water Park for this one. I wonder if we will see any there this year? Then it was a drive through Caversham and Reading to head for home. Coming off the motorway I decided on a short walk at Liddington Castle to try for Corn Bunting and Linnet. There were hardly any small birds around, just a few Chaffinches and a Blue Tit. Two Buzzards,a Red Kite and a Kestrel were seen and a Raven heard. Finally I checked out the Little Owl tree drawing another blank. A shame as these three would have put me on a hundred for the year but no worries it was a great bit of birding anyway. Back home I checked my phone a saw a tweet reminding me that there was a Fudge Duck at Dinton Pastures. Annoyingly I had driven within a mile of the place and not thought about it. I believe that this one has been deemed to be a dodgy duck as well but nonetheless it wish I had remembered that it was there.

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