Monday 20 July 2020

Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
Monday 20 July

A very early arrival on a clear day at 5.55 and the sun breaking through, hopefully well ahead of the dog walkers - but I should be so lucky!  A slight chill in the air so pleased I was wearing a long sleeve jumper even though still in shorts.  On the whole a lovely site when quiet and less than ten minutes away by car from my son's home.  Lots of Blackbirds and Wood Pigeons on the way then greeted by a few House Sparrows, a couple of Collared Doves and more Wood Pigeons.

Having change into trainers I set off form the Visitors Centre to walk the anti-clockwise "Blue Trail," a total of 4 kilometres including the long stretches through the reed-bed and canal tow path respectively.  Resting at the water's edge near the VC were a good number of Mallard plus both Canada Geese and a couple of Mute Swans.  A closer look produced numerous Black-headed Gulls and even a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls in addition to a single Common Tern and then a family party of Egyptian Geese.  Further out on the water  number of Tufted Duck.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus family with adopted Mallard Anada Azulon Anas platyrhynchos
Approaching the reed-bed A small feeding party of Chaffinches in the tree above and then a Sedge Warbler to my left.  On round the corner and I heard then saw a couple of Crows before stopping to see the feeding Reed Warblers.  A Cetti's Warbler was shouting its head off and then the first of the five Magpies seen during my walk

Once walking alongside the canal I was able to look back into the reserve and found the Great Spotted Woodpecker at the top of a dead tree.  A little further on a single Great Tit and then a couple of Willow Warblers.  A Robin put in an appearance before crossing the railway line.  Looking at the water inside the reserve I found the small flock of Pochard and a Great Crested Grebe with well-grown chick.

Once back nearer to the end of the lake opposite the VC it was amusing to see all the Black-headed Gulls lined up on parallel horizontal branches as it on a "shooting gallery" and ten also a handful of Cormorant.  A very close resting Common Tern took off from the low branch before I could raise the camera.  At the back of the water I found a single Heron and then a feeding Little Grebe.  Finally, the last bird of the morning (at last) was a Dunnock.

Black-headed Gulls Gaviota Reidora Larus rudibundus with a single Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo
On returning to son's house I was greeted by Great and Blue Tits along with a juvenile Bullfinch on the bird feeder whilst a Blackbird fed below on the dropped seed and a Red Kite circled overhead.  Great sightings.

Birds seen:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Red Kite, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Bullfinch

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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