Friday, January 23, 2009
KGV Res, Essex / Greater London - 31st December 2008
A cold, frosty and overcast new year's eve with Paul C and Tony B at this large, somewhat featureless reservoir in the northern fringes of London; a frequent and favoured haunt of Paul's in the past, and the first time at the site for me.
Our hopes were raised by the extended cold snap which has already provided more than I'd dare hope for back on patch in Hackney - a scarce duck or an odd wader would do just fine. As it transpired, we connected with both - one of the first birds we came across was a single Dunlin, feeding along the few inches of exposed 'shore' around the eastern edge.
A Walk up the perimeter path, amongst probably the most urban sheep in London outside of the city farms towards the northern edge of the southern basin, hosting many ducks sheltering from the cold north-westerly. A red-head Red-breasted Merganser was just the kind of scarcity we'd hoped for in these bleak, apocalyptic surrounds, showing well beyond flocks of wildfowl which in total numbered 25 Goldeneye, 27 Teal, four Wigeon, three Shelduck, and a fly-by female Goosander, straight past us and up the canal.
Single Redwing, Fieldfare and Meadow Pipit were found on the walk back, where a Common Sandpiper was now sharing the bank with the Dunlin; and then final scan of the scattered aythyas revealed another star bird for the day, a female Greater Scaup, with several Tufted Ducks.
Scaup with Tufted Ducks
A scan of the distant (and private) William Girling Reservoir revealed at least 15 Black-necked Grebes and 148 Teal.