Thursday, 2 April 2009

Some Farmoor Ticks

A couple of brief visits to Farmoor to report. On both occasions these were specific "twitches" to get some county year ticks. The first one involved a party of 4 common scoter that had appeared on the reservoir and which were reported that morning. Now common scoter have appeared from time to time on Farmoor but I'd yet to manage to see one within the county so I was keen to get out there finally to catch up with this species. Consequently mid morning I set off with L, my two year old son in tow. When we got there there was not a breath of wind and the flies were swarming which L wasn't too pleased about so we periodically had to run to evade the gathering cloud of flies that was building up around us. The reservoir itself was rather an impressive sight with at least a couple of thousand black-headed gulls on it, it being the peak passage time for this species. Nevertheless the four common scoter, two males and two females, could clearly be seen out in the middle of the reservoir though digiscoping them proved difficult. As I only had limited time I did not search through all the gulls though I later found out that there were some little gulls and an adult kittiwake in amongst them so I regret not having done so. Still I had managed finally to get my Oxon common scoter.

The four common scoter digiscoped at a very long distance

A few days later, it was the day before our family Easter holiday (see next blog entry) and I again was looking after L for the afternoon whilst my VLW (very lovely wife) was doing some packing. I'd heard that there was a water pipit and a rock pipit both at Farmoor so we headed off there to see what we could find. The rock pipit had been along the eastern shore of Farmoor I so I first looked along there and managed to flush a pipit which ended up landing on the sewage treatment roof where a heat-haze distorted view looked vaguely promising though when I later examined the digiscoped photos the leg colour was all wrong so I decided that it was not good enough to tick. I was just turning round to head up the causeway when a large pipit landed some 30 yards ahead of me. A quick view in the scope immediately showed it to be larger than a meadow pipit and without the olivey colouring that they have. In addition it had two rather prominent wing bars and a rather pale streaked breast. I was confident in identifying this as the water pipit and proceeded to take a few digiscoped record shots.

The water pipit

A few ticks to add to the lists. I already had common scoter on the national list from my trip to devon but if was nice finally to get it as a county tick.

National 2009
148 house martin 30/03/2009 Port Meadow
149 water pipit 02/04/2009 Farmoor Reservoir

Oxon 2009
127 house martin 30/03/2009 Port Meadow
CL 128 common scoter 31/03/2009 Farmoor Reservoir
129 water pipit 02/04/2009 Farmoor Reservoir

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