Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at Dorney/Jubilee River

Mid-week Walk at Dorney/Jubilee River
Peter Hambrook

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Weather: Dry but overcast with a stiff north-easterly wind. 10c
Six of us took part in this walk. Luckily the parking area was not too full and we all found a place. A quick look west from the bridge revealed a few ducks, a great crested grebe and a distant buzzard being harassed by crows, while the first of many red kites seen flew over nearby and we also had brief views of a goldcrest and a green woodpecker. Returning through the car park, keen-eyed new member Hilary spotted the first of the day's redwings sitting at the top of a bush. Unusually, all the redwings that we saw were singles, often flying in a rather distracted manner.
Moving on along the river we came upon a group of tufties and a few pochards, along with the usual black-headed gulls and coots. After crossing the first bridge we could view the more sheltered areas around the marsh and here we came across an amazing number of little grebes, that eventually totalled ten, as well as good numbers of gadwall. A sudden commotion along the reed edge proved to be a moorhen chasing a water rail and most got a brief view of the latter. A heron posed in one bay and a cormorant perched on a dead tree in a shallow area, while Cetti's warblers were heard in the undergrowth.
A walk through the bushes revealed the occasional robin and goldfinch but little else, so we climbed the hill to view the Slough Sewage Farm pools, which added a small group of shovelers amongst a mass of black-headed gulls. Walking towards the second bridge, some managed a brief glimpse of a muntjac deer before it disappeared into the undergrowth and a single common gull was amongst another group of black-headed gulls. A couple of stock doves then flew over the hill we had just descended.
The walk down to the weir produced a few reed buntings, a flyover group of lapwings, a female kestrel and the only fieldfare that we saw, while the buoys protecting the weir each had a perched cormorant on them. The corner by the ditch was, as usual, a sanctuary for small birds, with at least two chiffchaffs, another Cetti's and a wren in residence. The flood was rather quiet, possibly due to the undergrowth that now surrounds it, but this area produced a cracking male grey wagtail, two pied wagtails and a pair of teal, while another grey heron staked-out a nearby ditch.
The walk back to the cars was marked only by a close hovering kestrel and a distant great black-backed gull. A quick count up suggested that we saw around 38 species between us, so quite a productive morning. Some of us then retired to The Pineapple inn for a spot of lunch, where the doorstep sandwiches were so filling that no more food was required for the rest of the day!!
PETER HAMBROOK