Monday, 3 May 2021

Farmoor Reservoir :: 01 May 2021

On Friday evening I was chatting with Kevin Heath on WhatsApp and deciding where we would meet. We couldn't decide how local we should stay, but we came across a report from Ewan Urquhart of black redstart at Farmoor Reservoir. We arrived at 7.45am hoping they would open the gates early, but ended up having a chat while they gragged it out until the allotted hour.

We made for the water treatment works to see if we could locate the bird from the previous day but had no luck. Kev picked out a candidate but it moved on before we had a chance to get a good enough view to be sure. Ewan turned up and joined the search but we couldn't find anything that matched. Across the causeway we encountered five yellow wagtail and watched until one of the wardens drove by in the opposite direction, flushing the birds.

We opted to drop down onto the river and immediately saw a jay on the opposite bank, then a couple of reed warbler in the reeds opposite.

Reed warbler

We made our way along the bank and came across another showy Cetti's warbler and watched - soon it hopped from the river side to the trees on our right. We peered into the base of the trees and found sedge and garden warbler, and a pair of blackcap. Kev heard a kingfisher behind and went to investigate - a couple of minutes later he beckoned me back as he'd found it perched in a dead tree on the opposite bank, but it had already departed by the time I reached him. A cuckoo called across the Pinkhill reserve.

Cetti's warbler
Cetti's warbler

Sedge, Cetti's and reed warbler called all along the bank - we stopped to listen for grasshopper warbler on one of the bends as Ewan had heard some calls earlier, but with no luck.

Sedge warbler

We reached the path to Pinkhill Lock and stopped to listen for grasshopper warbler - the spot I'd waited for 2 hrs the previous weekend. Again, we heard but did not see. We made our way up onto the reservoir again and round to, and over, the causeway. Swifts and swallows hunted over the water and were joined by just a couple of common tern. By the end of the causeway it started to hail/rain and we made for the car. It had been a pleasant visit but a shame we didn't connect with the black redstart.

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