A trip to discover the birds at Abberton reservoir in February.
Before my day’s birding trip I was passing the reservoir one evening earlier in the week so stopped to briefly look over the causeway by the reserve entrance. The light was fading but there was a group of waterfowl quite close by. The group included tufted duck, pochard, great crested grebe and a Slavonian grebe. I got a good comparison of size as the Slavonian was next to the great crested grebes. I didn’t have my good camera with me but managed to get a fuzzy snap of the Slavonian. The bird’s profile was clear and you could see its small bill, red eye, black cap and the beginnings of its russet brown breeding plumage.
Beginning my day trip overlooking the causeway further along from the reserve there were the usual characters present: mute swans, Canada geese, mallards, black-headed gulls, herring gulls, common gulls, cormorants and grey herons in the trees. I like watching the so called ‘common species’ go about their day and sometimes there is something interesting to discover. There was a small Canada goose on the bank, with unusual markings and apparently this is a hybrid of a barnacle and Canada goose. A group of greylag geese came into land, with one Egyptian goose being present on the shoreline. Pied wagtails and chaffinches were always flitting about the pavement and embankment. Other waterfowl present included pochard, teal, gadwall and shelduck, with coots and moorhen also being around. Then appeared the beautifully smart male smew and the redhead female. A male goosander came into view too, before he disappeared around the island. A male kestrel flew past, the light catching its colourful plumage nicely, with a marsh harrier also flying in the distance. Several rooks were in the trees overlooking the water, along with carrion crows flying past.
Heading to the reserve, large groups of pochard, wigeon and tufted duck were about by the causeway, as well as a few shoveler and several great crested grebes. The Slavonian grebe was on the reservoir too. Managing to catch a glimpse of it I could see it briefly before it decided to quickly dive down underwater again. Along the grassland by the entrance the meadow pipits and skylarks were about as usual.
From the hides the goldeneye were showing nicely, along with more tufted duck. Lapwings and starlings were flying around in the distant fields, with a few stock doves on the bank. There weren’t many waders about, with redshank, oystercatcher and ruff making a brief appearance during the day but all in all another good trip.