Managed to get out Saturday afternoon in an attempt to see a Smew at Middleton. Arrived about 2.30, the lovely morning weather had gone and was very dull and dismal, so no worthwhile photography today! Decided to go clockwise around the reserve for a change so that we had a bit more daylight along the canal side and then a possible chance of owls hunting by the river. After about 30 minutes stopped for a chat with some other birders (Middleton volunteers as it happens) asked if they had seen the Smew only to be told it wasn't about and probably gone over to Kingsbury. (Still haven't got around to popping in there, might do that next weekend. We could do with retiring, work gets in the way of birding!)
So plodded on around the reserve, I say 'plodding' as its really muddy and slippy on some of the paths at the moment. Anyway not a great list today as I think most of the birds had gone into hiding as it was so dull. Anyway here it is:
Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Rook, Long Tailed Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Mallard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Shoveler, Gadwall, Buzzard, Kestrel, Lapwing, Canada Goose, Little Egret, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Fieldfare, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Teal, Moorhen, Black Headed Gull and Goldeneye.
So we thought that was it, we were walking along the river, approaching the two finger post when something whitish dropped down behind the trees by a nearby pool. We carried on towards the pool and as we got close in the murk, there he was! Yes a male Smew, but our approach spooked him, so before we could stop and admire, he was off, disappearing over the trees and dropping down onto one of the other lakes. By now we were tired and it was getting very dark & murky, so we decided to head back to the car park. As we got back to the car it was almost dark, the path through the woods was fun, sliding about all over the place! When we got back to the car park, ours was the last car there (not unusual!), but we happily drove back to Blackheath with our first ever Smew in the bag! We need to try again for the Smew though to get a good sighting and perhaps some good photos to go with it.