Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Just can't get enough 2nd December 2015

A frustrating morning dealing with work issues and then having to endure some noisy builders putting up an extension on next door's property was getting to me - but this is where I live, Kingham, a village that has become unrecognisable from when we first came to live here and where no one who now moves here seems satisfied with what they have got and feel honour bound to increase the value of their already astronomically priced property by adding yet another bedroom or extension.

Eleven o' clock arrived and with the sun shining I could take no more so decamped for Farmoor and some further communing with the two Grey Phalaropes still endlessly patrolling the northern edge of the smaller of the two reservoirs.

A few more birders and photographers were present today, doubtless taking advantage of the finer spell of weather  although the wind was still brisk and chilly out of the southwest.

Phalarope paparazzi

Today the conglomeration of wind blown detritus at the northern shore consisted of the ever present emerald green balls and the usual feather quills, enhanced by the addition of the odd plastic bottle, a cigarette lighter and assorted bits of coloured paper and polythene bags. It makes me so cross as none of it needs to be there apart from the feathers. The warden/employee of Thames Water  could surely make himself useful and retrieve the balls rather than endlessly drive around in his white patrol vehicle and the rest is down to the general public, fishermen, birders, who knows? Whoever is responsible could just as easily discard their rubbish in the plentiful rubbish bins available. 

I sat and watched these two beautiful and rare birds gracing the waters of Farmoor and the contrast of their delicate beauty to the dross in which they swam and found their food only emphasised what a mess we make of our world wherever humankind goes. 

Grey Phalaropes, Green Balls and Plastic Bottle all showing well!
I understand that there are huge amounts of plastic floating around in our oceans and most pelagic birds have ingested particles of plastic to a greater or lesser degree and now the curse of indestructible plastic seems to have even arrived at Farmoor.

The phalaropes, immune to my concern about their environment carried on up and down the reservoir edge, feeding non stop. They did not remain together so much today and would feed far apart but usually came together near the green balls,  the balls constantly moving in a lateral conga, forward and backward, thanks to the motion of wind and waves. One of the birds flew strongly around the reservoir for no apparent reason before coming back to rest adjacent to the favoured green balls. Undoubtedly the phalaropes preferred the unsalubrious conglomeration of detritus at the northern shore above any other area of the reservoir as this provided the best feeding and the birds certainly did not suffer from the esoteric qualms so troubling me.

Studying the plumage of these two birds and briefly discussing this with Ian Lewington  yesterday, our esteemed County Recorder and bird artist par excellence,  it was apparent that one bird was an adult and the other a first winter. The first bird that arrived at Farmoor looked to be in adult plumage whilst the second, which arrived a few days ago was obviously in first winter plumage and it was fortunate to have the opportunity to study and compare them at such close quarters.

The first winter Grey Phalarope showing juvenile dark tertials on the wing 

The adult Grey Phalarope showing adult grey tertials on the wing
I wonder how much longer these two will remain here? It's not long until the New Year! 
Someone may even have cleared away the rubbish by then. I live in hopes!

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