Following a tip-off from a local birder, I rushed down to witness the carnage going on, as the first Ruddy Duck cull of the winter took place. Five hours later, they had successfully wiped out 7 of the last remaining 14 birds.
A juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER present on the South Basin bailed out as soon as the guns started, whilst the diving and dabbling duck simply exchanged basins.
Three juvenile COMMON SCOTERS were a surprise and no time was wasted in explaining the similarities between these birds and the female/immature of their target practise objectives to the slayers. The three were on the North Basin however and showed extremely well, diving close in by the main causeway.
There were also 32 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Mute Swans, 73 Eurasian Wigeon, 59 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler, 9 Common Teal, 313 Tufted Duck, 71 Pochard and 23 Common Goldeneye, whilst a single DUNLIN flew around at 1215.
As I walked down the main footpath between Hithermoor Road and the gate, a calling FIRECREST was seen, along with a single COMMON CHIFFCHAFF. Eventually conquering the extremely muddy and flooded footpath to the boardwalk, I came out on to Staines Moor and was very surprised to see the first-winter BROWN SHRIKE present in the isolated bushes to the left of the track and river. The bird was showing incredibly well (down to 25 yards) and was busy flitting from the Hawthorns to the ground in search of food. It was much buffier now on the underparts, particularly on the lower flanks and at the shoulders. It was still heavily barred on the sides of the underparts but much less so on the mantle, back and crown. The uppertail coverts were still heavily barred, and the upperwing coverts neatly fringed rusty and flight feathers distinctly buff edged. The bill was very pale at the base whilst the greyish stripe above the well-defined black mask was more obvious than in October.
A flock of 25 Fieldfare was also on the moor, with a single Little Egret roosting nearby. A single WATER PIPIT was also by the river.
KING GEORGE VI RESERVOIR (strictly permit access only)
A total of four GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS was present (all juveniles) - perhaps the largest number ever present together in West London; also 37 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Mute Swans, 39 Common Teal, 25 Gadwall, 1 Common Redshank, 1 DUNLIN (presumably the Staines bird), 6 Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail.