The benefits of finishing early on a Friday are that when a bird turns up close to home, I can go for it. This particular individual had been at the reservoir at Staines for the last week. So, I shot home, grabbed my scope, dropped my son off at his cousins, spotted a Red Kite flying over my brothers house, grabbed some food, sliced through Woking, cruised the M25 then TRAFFIC JAM!....40 minutes later (some road rage) I pulled over at Staines reservoir. As reported this juvenile Garganey was on the west side of the north basin. For the first 10 minutes it sat with its head tucked; only giving away its identity when it began to preen. Having said that, it gave out plenty of clues such as size, leg colour and striped head pattern. Eventually it took to the water and began bathing, giving me great looks until deciding to join some Shoveler on the east side of the reservoir. Great bird and about time! Thanks to Surrey Bird Club and Rare Bird Alert.
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 .