Friday, 14 December 2012

London's very own 'Buff-bellied Pipit'

All week the weather has been cold and sunny, but the day I get to go birding the heavens open - oh well it's still good to get out!

News of a relatively close (not Scillies or Shetland) Buff-bellied Pipit showing extremely well on the west side of London on the margins of Queen Mother Reservoir, had me circling the M25 in what were treacherous driving conditions. Just over an hour later and having survived that roller coaster thanks in main to some go-cart style driving and Heart FM Christmas tunes on the radio keeping me nice and relaxed, I was at the entrance to the Sailing club being courteously greeted on arrival by Mr LGR Evans who was putting in a shift on the gates and collecting £2 for the day permits - small price to pay for a quality bird.

Having reached the banks of the reservoir it was obvious by the small distant crowd that the bird hadn't yet done a bunk, I was surprised by how much further round the reservoir the bird was - usually I wouldn't mind the walk but with today's weather not improving it was a case of head down and onwards, all the time trying to protect the optics from the elements.

I wasn't to be disappointed and the views of this North American Pipit for the next hour were crippling, no need for a scope today or even a pair of bins as the bird showed to within 10ft, continuously hugging the bank of the reservoir, always on the move, never stopping - it definitely kept me on my toes and the small group of birders following its movements.

The only downside was trying to capture that pin sharp image that every photographer craves for, made more difficult by the weather, poor light and the incessant movement of the bird - better photographs by better photographers are probably to be had, especially if the bird sticks for the next few days, but here are a couple of OKish ones from me of London's first ever Buff-bellied Pipit.




I had hoped to see Red-necked Grebe or Long-tailed Duck whilst on site but to be honest I was happy to head back to the dryness of the car and a few more of those wonderful Christmas songs!


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