Sunday, 12 June 2016

Spotted Sandpiper at Brent Reservoir

Saturday morning started with a dawn visit to Rainham Marsh in hope of catching up with the Golden Oriole which Howard Vaughan had heard singing at the west end of the reserve the previous day, but unfortunately the bird had quickly moved on overnight - this was a real shame as it's been a number years since I've seen Golden Oriole, and with no news of any returning birds at Lakenheath it has become increasingly difficult to catch up with these birds in the UK.

Thinking my morning was over after seeing the usual bits and bobs at Rainham (Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Cuckoo and Stonechat), I received news of a Spotted Sandpiper at Brent Reservoir, so just over an hour later (the North circular was quiet for once) I was on site and enjoying excellent scope views from the hide of a cracking summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper, initially the bird was sitting motionless on one of the Tern rafts before later flying between the half dozen other rafts and then disappearing around a bend and out of sight from the hide. It did cross my mind to then head straight over to Rye Meads to see the Purple Heron which had also been found that morning, but time was against me as parental duties called in the form of football training pick-up and a summer school fayre to attend as well.

A bit of a shameful admission but this was my first visit to Brent Reservoir, despite it only being about 15 miles away I've never had a good reason to make the short trip, but judging by the excellent habitat on view I'm sure over the years the site has had a number of good birds, but they must have all been midweek or when I've been away - well that's my poor excuse anyway. The part of the reservoir where the Spotted Sandpiper was situated was heavily covered in vegetation so it wasn't until I had stepped into the hide and peered through the shutters that I'd noticed the iconic arch of new Wembley Stadium reaching into the sky, I'm not sure everyone would be happy with the view but personally (as a football fan) I thought it was great and sure beats having a sterile 70's style block of flats or some concrete office type building ruining the skyline, which you might expect around an urban birding site in London.

Wembley Stadium, London
It's not every day you see a Spotted Sandpiper and the national football stadium in the same field of view

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