Saturday, 30 January 2010

Lonsdale Reservoir - first visits

I discovered this reservoir in Barnes by accident last year on my way to a Thames21 cleanup by Barnes Bridge. I visited it twice last year, loved it and decided to add it as a second patch. Last Sunday was my fourth visit, my third had been on previous weekend when the reservoir was actually still frozen and the few birds on there were just a few gulls. It also started raining buckets just as I entered the area making scanning the trees rather difficult. Still, I had managed 23 species, but I failed to find the pair of Jackdaws I had since on previous visits, or heard during the cleanups on the foreshore. No such problem this time, I found them almost immediately, very busy mobbing a male Kestrel. It was probably the one I had photographed back in November as it was sitting in a tree above the path.

Kestrel looking straight at the camera
For a bigger version and 2 more photos, click on photo.

On the same tree were a few Stock Doves, another bird I don't get to see on my Fulham patch. It's the same thing for Collared Doves which I saw in my previous visits last year, but I couldn't find any this time.

The reservoir itself had a lot more birds than on my 1st visit (not difficult): a few Shovelers, Tufted Ducks, Mallards and 1 Pochard, Coots & Moorhens, Gulls of the Common & Black-headed variety and 1 Lesser Black-Backed, 2 Grey Herons. But, as hard as I tried, I couldn't find any Little Grebe (apparently they haven't come back since the big freeze).

I am used to seeing Egyptian Geese on the foreshore, so it threw me up slightly when on my first visit I saw 2 up in a tree. They were surrounded by Ring-Necked Parakeets making quite a racket as per usual.

Makes you wonder if this photo was really taken in the UK...

If I had paid more attention to reports of Egyptian Geese I probably would have noticed a few of those were of birds in trees and I wouldn't have been quite so surprised... This photo was taken back in November but I saw a pair in the same tree at my first visit this year. The second visit, it was another tree, but was it the same pair?

When I got about 2/3 round, I met with another birder coming in the other direction. He asked me "Have you seen the owl?" "No, where?" He tells me where, it was around the area when I'd seen the Jackdaws and Kestrel shenanigans, which had obviously distracted me. I wasn't surprised, it had looked good to me and I had checked some of the holes, but obviously not enough of them. I walked a bit further and from the other side saw what could be an owl in that tree & took a photo. When I got to the tree in question I tried to find the hole but just couldn't get an angle on it. I went round the tree and found this one, asleep:

I think no more of the other one until I get home and look at the photo on the computer. Is it just me, or can you see 2 eyes and a beak?

Furthermore, I chatted later that day with someone who'd been to the reservoir and had seen 2 of them earlier in the week. My plan is to go there again early tomorrow morning and have another good look for them. As well as for the grebes.

Total for this year is #35 so far.


  1. Awesome photos. I ran into this blog by accident, but could not leave without complimenting the pics. ~Jim