Wednesday, 19 February 2014

First visit of the year to Warnham Nature Reserve

For those of you that haven't been to Warnham, I cannot recommend it enough for its bird feeding station. Every nature reserve should have one like it. My first visit was early 2013, and today was my third visit. For me, who relies heavily on public transport from my home town of Hayes, its not the easiest or cheapest place to get to, however if you have a willing car driving friend.........well today my willing friend was Sue (without Jasper the bird-dog on this occasion).
Because of other commitments in the morning, we didn't arrive until after noon. We went straight to the feeders, and seemed to have arrived at exactly the right time. For two hours we watched Goldfinches, Lesser Redpolls (I hope I've got that id right !), Dunnocks, Robins, Blackbirds, a female Great Spotted Woody, Pheasants, Moorhens, Mallards, Reed Buntings, Magpies, Nuthatches, Siskins, Wrens, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits. At one stage I tried to get a photo of every species seen, but gave up. So below are just a few of the birds seen on and underneath the feeders.........
Lesser Redpoll
Lesser Redpolls
fem Reed Bunting
Long-tailed Tit
fem Chaffinch
male Pheasant
male Siskin
male Blackbird
fem Pheasant
Lesser Redpoll and Siskin
Lesser Redpoll
fem Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Redpoll and Siskin
Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch and Siskin
male Chaffinch
I also wanted some more natural shots of the Redpolls, rather than them being on feeders, so below are my favourite four......
We didn't have time to do the full circuit at Warnham, but did manage to fit in a few visits to both the Tern Hide and the Heron Hide. From these we saw the Herons in the Herony, a few Canada Geese, Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, juv Herring Gulls, a pair of Teal, Cormorants and a Kingfisher. More about that Kingfisher later.........
Great Crested Grebe
Heron flying low over the lake
male Tufted Duck
one of the nests in the Herony
We took a break in the brilliant and very reasonably priced café, and were lucky to get any hot food.
I got the last jacket potato and Sue had a panini. Lesson learnt for my next visit......have our lunch break earlier than 2.30 pm !! The quality of the food is excellent and the coffee was delicious. Warnham is a very popular site and today was half term school holidays, so in no way can we complain our choice of menu was restricted, it was purely our own fault for not eating earlier.
After our brief break, we went straight to the Heron Hide hoping to see the Kingfisher again..........we did, and again more about that at the end of my blog. We spent the next 45 minutes alternating between the Heron Hide and the feeder station hide, and at 4pm decided we should head home to avoid the M25 traffic. We were well on our way out when we spotted three birders with scopes and cameras in the 'sheep field'. One of them kindly met us at the gate to advise they had a Common Snipe in view. I'm sorry I didn't make a note of any of their names as I'd really liked to have named them on here. Many thanks to the trio anyway. Seeing the Snipe was a perfect end to our afternoon outing.
Spot the Snipe
So back to the Kingfisher. I wouldn't say this is one of my bogey birds. I've seen them at my own patch, Cranford Park, and at various other places, but I've never really got a decent photo of one.
Today, when Sue and I first sat in the Heron Hide, it didn't take long for Sue to spot one flying opposite and landing in the reeds. It then flew towards us and settled briefly in the trees on our right, and from there it took off again. At first we were just glad to have seen it, and I was seated by the only window in the hide that doesn't open.
Within minutes the FisherKing landed right next to the hide, on my left, and viewable for just a few seconds before it took off again. It then came back and rested briefly on a branch that was only viewable from the only window in the hide that doesn't open. Again it flew off.
We broke off for lunch then, but confident the bird would come back, we were soon perched hopefully in the hide after our food break. The bird did not disappoint. Not only did we see if before we even entered the hide (again on the left hand side), it came back and at one point was just six feet away. But as before, the only really good viewing was made through the only window in the hide that doesn't open. So my two photos below, although of my best views of this beautiful bird, were taken through a layer of glass.
 I tried lightening the first photo, but left the second picture untouched.
For my own satisfaction I would have loved these views without the hindrance of a dusty dirty glass window, but the thrill of seeing this gorgeous male Kingfisher so close up, will never be forgotten.
It was a great afternoon out and about. My poorly shoulder was made bearable by a few codeine tablets and a heat patch, and the weather stayed dry (though we would have been happier if it had been sunnier).
As for the reserve itself, one day I will spend a whole day here. There is so much to see.  


  1. Hi Wendy,

    Nice to meet you today and apologies for not having my keys with me to let you in the gate! Fantastic write-up of your days events and hopefully I will see you at the Reserve again soon.

    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Jake, nice to put a name to the face :)