Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Slavonian Grebe at Wilstone

What an amazing sequence of events. This bird was initially identified as a Red-necked Grebe, then a Black-necked Grebe and finally correctly as a Slavonian Grebe. Slavonian Grebes breed in parts of Scotland and in winter are found round the coast in Southern England but rarely inland, so this was a special bird.

I arrived at Wilstone and hauled myself up the famous "car park steps" and looked round for a huddle of scopes, which I soon found located in the northwest corner of the reservoir by the outfall. I had a quick scan with my bins to see if I could locate the grebe in front of the observers. I did indeed find the grebe but it was nowhere near the gathering, but a mere half way between me and the corner. I quickly moved into position and there was the grebe, bobbing around in the water just 20 yards from the bank in glorious sunshine.

I rattled off a number of shots as an insurance should the bird move away or the sun go in, but eventually was able to wait and choose the best posture and light. I wish all subjects, especially birds as rare as this, were all so obliging.

What was still intriguing me was what the assembled crowd at the corner of the reservoir were watching, so I went along to have a look - a pair of Whooper Swans. Now before we all get excited I should point out that these are just two of a number of feral birds that roam the area and have even bred at Wardown Park in Luton. However, they are magnificent birds and tame or not, are worth a few shots.

The final mission at Wilstone was to go in search of some pipits, preferably of the Rock or Water variety, so I made my way over to the beaches by the jetty. Unfortunately, there were no pipits, but there were a few wagtails including a rather smart Grey Wagtail which made up for it.

Well, that was a very successful morning so now on to Startops for some pipits.

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