Friday, 21 October 2016


I had just arrived at the Beacon this morning than no sooner I get a text informing me of 5 WHOOPER SWANS on WILSTONE. Rushed immediately down but arrived at the car park just in time to miss them - the four adults and one juvenile flying off SE at 0920! Their arrival followed that of 9 last night at Foxcote Reservoir, Buckingham, as well as a widespread arrival elsewhere. Had a good look around whilst I was there but no sign of the Ring-necked Duck (it had apparently relocated to Startop's) and just 125 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the mud by the hide, 96 Shoveler, a mammoth 533 Teal, the Common Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtail and 4 Little Grebe.

I then returned to IVINGHOE BEACON and did a VizMig Watch from 1015 through to 1300 hours. A nice and varied passage followed -:
11 Goldcrest (noticeable arrival)
113 Fieldfare
69 Redwing
143 Common Starling
36 Chaffinch
1 Yellowhammer
36 Skylark
Stock Dove
11 Woodpigeon (the first evidence of any movement this autumn)

2 Bullfinch

Thursday, 20 October 2016

RING-NECKED DUCK afforded fabulous views today....

20 OCTOBER 2016
Flitted over to WILSTONE RESERVOIR first thing, after Roy Hargreaves had discovered a drake RING-NECKED DUCK yesterday morning - presumably the same bird Ian Williams had found last autumn and remained throughout October 2015. A small crowd had gathered on the jetty, including Francis Buckle, Tony Hukin & Lucy Flower, the duck performing impeccably not that far out. It was diving non-stop and resurfacing with weed, allowing me to obtain a large series of images during the hour or so I observed it (see below). Wildfowl numbers were still fairly high, especially of Teal, Tufted Duck & Pochard, while 4 RED-CRESTED POCHARD were by the Drayton Hide (two pairs) and the two remaining PINTAIL. A flock of 86 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER landed briefly on the mud, while 3 of the JACK SNIPE were seen, including one that was forced out by the 2 Water Rails patrolling the reed edge right out into the open (see also below). Otherwise, much the same as usual - 8 Little Egrets, the 'tame' Common Kingfisher fishing from the bank, several Red Kites and 2 migrant SISKINS.


It was migrating FIELDFARES however that really made my day - masses of them. At IVINGHOE BEACON, I counted no less than 2,628 in 5 hours - streaming north in single flocks of up to 274 birds! And streaming NORTH - that was a surprise, particularly as that was the wind direction in which they were flying into. Migration is such a magnificent thing - so wonderful and always full of surprises! Just 198 REDWING were associated with the movement and a handful of Chaffinches, as well as 21 Yellowhammers, my largest passage of the autumn. A pair of MARSH TITS showed well in Top Scrub, as well as 4+ Jays and Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers - 2 Bullfinch too.