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Friday, 14 December 2012

Local Mega: AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT in Berkshire

There is an AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT present for its third day at QUEEN MOTHER RESERVOIR (Berkshire). Special visiting arrangements have been organised for tomorrow for all non-members of the Reading Ornithological Group.


The bird will be looked for from first light and news of its presence will then be relayed to RBA for general release. If present, general access will be allowed from about 0930 hours onwards. A Day Permit will be offered at £2 per person. This will be available at the gate. For Health & Safety Reasons, EVERYBODY (including permit holders) MUST be signed IN and OUT - there are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.

Today, the bird showed well throughout, bar a period of 45 minutes late morning when it got lost. It is exceptionally confiding, affording views down to just a few yards, often on the grass at the top of the bank. It is like a heavily sullied Meadow Pipit on its underparts but with ALL BLACK legs, a bold eye-ring and a tiny hint of a superciliary behind the eye.

DIRECTIONS: Leave the M4 at Junction 5. Follow the A4 east to the traffic lights and then take the right turning into Colnbrook. The entrance gate is at TQ 017 771 along Horton Road.

QMR has a circumference of some 3 miles, almost equivalent to walking to Blakeney Point, so save yourself plenty of time. The bird is favouring the SOUTH shoreline - a good 20 minute walk from the car park and Yacht Centre. It has occasionally flown to the far SW corner - a walk of 45 minutes

There is also a first-winter RED-NECKED GREBE present (at around TQ 000 765) and a juvenile LONG-TAILED DUCK NW of the Yacht Club at TQ 015 775

Also of note, and very rare locally, is a GREY PHALAROPE in BEDFORDSHIRE - also present for its third day. Again, special access has been arranged for this Saturday by local permit holders if the bird is still present (it was there at 1610 hours this evening). The bird is favouring the third pan, feasting on insects where the inflow pipe pumps into the basin. Unlike the pipit, this bird IS NOT CONFIDING - it is viewable distantly from by the hide, at around 100 yards distance

DIRECTIONS: Dunstable Sewage Works is situated NW of Dunstable, just east of the A5 and south of the Thorn Turn at TL 003 244. The gate will be manned to direct visitors to the parking place and watchpoint.