Today Lori and I took a quick trip out to Staines Reservoirs. This was Lori's first visit, so I was sure there would be some good birds for us to see. On arrival we spotted two Black-necked Grebe on the south reservoir, a new U.K. bird for Lori. With a recent report of a Shag we began to scan through all of the cormorants. With no real contenders for this rarer bird we continued on where we met with some other birders. One chap from Woking called Bob had seen the shag earlier in the morning but since then it had disappeared. We chatted for a while, enjoying the antics of a Hobby over the south reservoir and getting our first look a Goldeneye. Lori and I continued along the footpath and just as we decided to turn around we spotted the Shag! The initial feel was the bird was smaller, daintier with a smaller-slender bill that was yellowish in colour. The peaked crown also was apparent. Having said that, I did ask the other birders for there opinion. They all agreed with the identification and as luck would have it the bird flew directly in front us and out to the tern rafts. That was great as you then got a really good comparison of size and shape with both species; Cormorants and Shag.
Silly o'clock and a drive to Summerset + a 2 1/2 hour watch at Ham Wall RSPB Reserve produced good looks at my first British P ied-billed Grebe. We turned up just after eight and just in time to miss this North American mega by minutes! Little Grebes kept us on our toes but we had to wait it out until about 10:40 am when it appeared from the corner where it had disappeared. There was a nice crowd here, all remaining hopeful and humorous during this very cold vigil. This little beauty made a b-line to open water, affording all great views. Bonus bird at this site was a Great White Egret .