Staines Reservoir

An American Horned Lark was found at Staines Reservoir last Friday and being unable to visit at the weekend I kept my fingers crossed that it would hang around for a few days as a visit to my Mums was planned for Tuesday afternoon / Wednesday. Fortunately I had finished work in good time and 13.00 saw me heading east on the M4. On arrival I was lucky enough to park in the layby by the gate at the western end, I hadn’t fancied leaving the car on the verge and don’t like leaving a loaded car at the less than salubrious car park at the eastern end. A quick walk up the slope found several birders strung out along the fence scoping the western bank of the North Basin. The Lark was apparently a fair distance away feeding in the vegetation. Despite several people calling out markers as to its location I couldn’t find it. Fortunately I was able to use another birders scope, this at least got me a sighting but still no real clue as to where the bird was. Moving along a few yards I had another try and eventually found it for myself It being an occasional glimpse of a head popping up from the grass. After a few more minutes it showed itself properly, emerging for a short time onto a bare patch of moss. The light was good so despite the distance the mainly white head markings were obvious. A shame it was so distant but was still worth the time spent. When it disappeared back into cover I had a wander along the causeway to check out the rest of the reservoir. Plenty of ducks were seen but I wasn’t able to get onto a Black-necked Grebe. With the temperature dropping and the light fading I decided to call it a day and to head off ahead of the inevitable heavy traffic. In the end I was lucky as the bird hasn’t been seen since.

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