On my way back from Swindon this morning I stopped off at Wroughton Reservoir. A good number of birds today with at least thirty-one Tufted Duck, twenty-three Gadwall and six Little Grebe. I say at least as they were continuously diving making them hard to count. Also a couple of Mute Swans, a few Coot and one Mallard. This afternoon as the weather was so nice I planned on another visit to Blakehill aiming to arrive at around three to give myself plenty of time to find one. I also fancied checking out lake seventy-four as there were a number of Great Black-backed Gulls there on Sunday. A few minutes looking gave no GBB’s but again there were impressive numbers of waterfowl. I then stopped off at Waterhay for a look at what I had in my mind was Lake eighty-three. I was hoping for a few Snipe on the margins. I hit lucky with Snipe a total of twenty seen. The water was almost devoid of birds but a quick scan with the binoculars (for some reason I had left my scope in the car) got a couple of Mute Swans, a Grebe and a Coot. Also a Cormorant tucked in by the reeds. Hang on though, was it a Cormorant? Best have another look. Of course it had gone when I looked again but then I saw it surfacing and another look although into the light and a distance away made me thing that it was a Diver. What to do? I could walk around the lake and risk flushing it or go back to the car for my scope. I chose the latter and a few minutes later I was back. It took a couple of minutes to relocate as it had moved a fair way along the lake. One look and I confirmed that it was a Great Northern Diver. Fantastic bird and for a change one that I had found myself. I sent off a few texts and also tweeted the news. I also phoned Kim Milson and during the conversation realised that this was lake eighty-TWO. Oops. So it was retext and retweet with the correct information. Spending a few minutes watching the bird it dived several times, each time surfacing with what I assume were Crayfish. It was now coming on three-thirty so I decided to head back to the car and get over to Blakehill. Just a few minutes drive and I was there. I could see some other birders already watching. A stop and scan during my brisk walk along the track found a hunting Barn Owl. A good start. Reaching the others (Robin and Ken) I was watching the Barn Owl when Robin found a Short-eared perched on a post. It then flew and we were treated to the sight of both Owls hunting, sometimes quite close to each other. Several Skylarks and a Snipe were put up by the Owls and a Stonechat was seen perched on the fence. An excellent finish to what had turned out to be an extremely good afternoon with three county and two Year-ticks. Finally I had forgotten to bring my camera out so no lousy record shots of a distant diver I am sorry to say.



6 responses to “GND & SEO

  1. Very interesting.

  2. Glad you found a Jack, the diver was a bonus too! 🙂 I shell be around that area tomorrow, might pop over to Barbury or Savernake also.

    • Hi Shane,
      Seems to be a few about this year. Was very pleased with the Diver.
      Hope you did better than me if you went to Savernake. I reckon the cold kept the birds at roost early on.

  3. Hi Malcolm,
    Popped up to see the Diver (with lovely close views) then spent a few hours in the area then moved over to Barbury Castle for the Bramblings. Started getting colder again so decided to call it a day.

    • Saw your reports on the blogs. Glad you had a good day. You have been clocking up the miles with your visits to the north of the county.

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