Sunday, 14 June 2020

Farmoor Reservoir :: 13 June 2020

It had seemed to be a long week and decided that we would take advantage of the predicted good weather on Saturday morning for a walk at Farmoor Reservoir. WhitethroatArriving at just after 8.20am, we found that the gates to the car park were still closed and a sign displayed indicating that they would be opened at 10.00am. I had seen that the site had reopened but not that the gates wouldn't be opened until later than the usual 08.00am. We parked back down the road and walked along the public footpaths running alongside the site.

Walking between two hedgerows we made our way from the north of the site to the west, encountering chiffchaff and large numbers of blackcap - initially all males, but eventually adding females. After crossing the small burn that runs from the river, we entered into Garganeyopen space. This proved to be a wider and more enjoyable way onto the site and offering more open scrub land. We then saw whitethroat, sedge and reed warbler, and reed bunting. Whitethroat were in abundance with family groups chasing around several bushes and others singing from atop small trees.

We saw a couple ahead of us and followed them up from the path onto the west side of F1. The water was quite still with only a gentle breeze. There were few species on the water's edge: coot, mallard and a couple of pied wagtails. We soon came to the western edge of the causeway, and as we looked at the assembled greylag geese, a single small duck Garganeytook off and landed amongst the geese on the other side of the causeway. We ventured onto the causeway to find it was the male garganey (eclipse plumage). Despite the initial flight, it was then happy to stay for photos - feigned shyness.

We decided to make a circuit of F2 and were surprised at how few gulls there were; mainly just the black-headed gulls nesting on the rafts. Eventually we did see a common tern but not the numbers we are used to seeing here - perhaps we are later due to the lockdown. We added grey wagtail, red kite, buzzard and chaffinch in and over the trees to our right.Great-crested grebe

As we approached the final stretch to the sailing club, they had obviously opened the gate to the car park (around 9.40am) and in came a stream of cars - they all soon were on the banks and setting up rods, some already casting by the time we reached them. We didn't add anything new over the causeway, perhaps due to the two family parties ahead who had decided to have at least one member walk along the wall on either side.

We reached the car after around 2½ hours on the paths and having covered 4.7 miles.

Sightings (34) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, chiffchaff, collared dove, common tern, coot, cormorant, dunnock, garganey, goldfinch, great crested grebe, great tit, grey wagtail, greylag goose, magpie, mallard, mute swan, pied wagtail, red kite, reed bunting, reed warbler, sedge warbler, snow goose, song thrush, stock dove, whitethroat, willow warbler, woodpigeon and wren.

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