20 November, 2010

Not So Red-necked Now Are You Grebe

Not So Red-necked Now Are You Grebe

Well, I don't quite know how this happened. One minute this morning I was happily in front of the computer, reading through endless pages of mind numbing, but extremely addictive BirdForum threads, and the next thing I know, I had found myself in the car park at The Tarn lake in Puttenham, where there happened to have been sightings of a Red-necked Grebe... what a coincidence!

Ok... ok, you've caught me, I twitched. Happy now? I twitched a Red-necked Grebe. I'm not proud of it.

With directions on how to view the Grebe kindly given to me from fellow birder Sean Foote, I set off through quiet, misty woodland, with the odd tick from a Robin, or tack from a Wren.

Even before we'd reached the lake, I had bagged myself a lifer in the form of a Giant Green-footed Chicken, which can reach 30 foot high- although I only managed to fit the leg in the frame...

After a left turning, we came into a clearing, where the Tarn could be seen for the first time. It is a beautiful lake, and the last of the autumn leaves were creating a reflection, that, on a sunny morning, would look spectacular. Unfortunatly, it was a cold, misty and grey morning, but no sooner had we had come out onto the bank had we caught out first glimse of the Red-necked Grebe, as it hugged the shoreline...

In its pretty drab winter dress, it doesn't really live up to its name...

The bird was wary, as I'd expect for a Grebe, and even though there were just two of us watching the bird from the bank, it soon made its way out into the middle of the lake, safe from the camera.

On the other side of the lake at the other car park, a large wall of scopes was lining up. Their loud voices could be heard from miles away, and they didn't stand much chance of getting close to the Grebe- I guess everyone has their own techniques.

After diving, the Grebe scooted off to the far end of the lake. I followed it; waiting mainly until it dived, when a walk would turn into a jog, then a pause as it surfaced, and then a jog again when it dived, until I was just a few metres away from where it had last dived.

It surfaced just a little bit out of range for the frame filler that I was hoping for, but acceptable enough to make it identifiable as a Black-necked... no, Little Grebe? No, its too big. Great crested Grebe? Can't be right... hang on, I'm going to get it right... Red... Red-necked... Red-necked Grebe, thats it! Identifiable by that clearly visible red neck...

As it moved off into the mist, it was nice to catch up with fellow birder Hillary, whom I'd met at the RSPB Guildford walk to Hayling Oysterbeds. She identified this pretty stereotypical fungi species, which I seem to have forgotten the name of... if anyone could re-identify it for me it would be much appreciated :-)

And this coral like Lichen caught my eye on the way back...

A successful twitch... I mean birding outing. Thanks again Sean for the directions.

Now wouldn't it be such a shame if I were to somehow find myself at Shawley Crescent in Epsom Downs tomorrow, where there happen to be lots of Waxwings eating berries as I write this.  

1 comment:

FAB said...

Nice bit of fieldcraft Bill ... always good to get away from the noisy throng and enjoy much better views.
Answer is Fly Agaric.
Cheers FAB.