Sunday, 17 March 2013

Soggy Sunday at the London Wetland Centre

Nearly didn't go out today but weather forecast promised sunshine and showers. So I did. And they were wrong. It was mainly showers and heavy rain at the London Wetland Centre. At least there are plenty of hides there to shelter from the weather.
Did get to see a lot of familiar faces. Philip (of course), John and Therese, Martin, Joe, Rick, Bernie and Jackie, Paul and Sheila, Spig and Sue and Laurence the Lizard Man.
Because the weather was so awful, hardly got any decent pics today, and bird-wise there wasn't a great deal about. High-light of my day was when Simon (one of the 'big' birders there) told me he had seen a Jack Snipe flying towards the Headly hide. I was in the WWF hide at the time, where I was praying for a good view of a Water Rail. Half an hour after Simon left, I saw a male Sparrowhawk dive into the reed bed on the right, and flushed another Jack Snipe, which zig-zagged its way towards the observatory. I think the Sprawk got wet, as it didn't chase the JS, but instead went back into the reeds, and re-appeared a few minutes later with no prey. So was the bird Simon saw, and the one I saw, the same Jack Snipe, or are there two on site ?
There was also a Redshank around today, but it was seen in various places across the site, so again, there could be more than one bird on site. I saw one from the Peacock Tower, and again from the WWF hide. Four Common snipe could be seen from the Peacock Tower too.
I spent a good couple of hours in the Headly hide when the heaviest of the rain fell. If you want a comfortable hide to spend your time in, the Headly is it ! Padded chairs, great sized viewing windows that don't creak when you open them or make a noise when you force them shut. Only downside is these facilities are only on the left hand side. On the right is floor to ceiling glass. I got some gorgeous close up views of a Gadwall from the Headly today.
Great numbers of Tufted Duck and Shoveller on site today. As the day went on, I saw more and more flying in. I scanned every Tufty I saw, but not one had a nasal saddle (bill-tag).
The bird feeders by the Headly and Wildside hides were deserted. The feeders along the way from the WWF hide was much busier with Chaffinches, Great and Blue Tits. A lot of Robins were seen and heard singing all across the site. Several pairs of Long-tailed Tits were also seen.
Cetti Warblers could be heard everywhere. In the WWF hide, there is one calling to your left and another to your right. I heard them at every hide I stopped in.
Today's pics are dreadful. Had the light been better, or if I used Photoshop, they might have been a bit more pleasing to the eye, but I never edit my photos except to crop them and add a little focus.
Got a nice end result to my day though, Paul and Sheila gave me a lift back all the way to my front door ! Thanks peeps :)
soggy Lapwing
soggy male Gadwall. Such an under-rated duck, look at those lovely markings
pair of soggy Little Grebes
soggy Cormorant
soggy Great Crested Grebe
distant view of male Sprawk in the rain
distant view of Redshank and Common Snipe in the rain
distant view of soggy Redshank in front of the WWF hide
One of the wild Mandarins that is in the Whistling Duck enclosure.

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