Tuesday, 22 July 2014

No sign of the weekend Turtle Dove but a juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL breaks the silence

TUESDAY 22 JULY
 
A further day of very hot conditions with temperatures again in the high seventies. Clear blue skies too
 
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING
 
With the Grand Union Canal in optimum usage with holiday barges etc, the water levels at Wilstone are finally starting to drop to reveal a narrow fringe of mud and the spit between the Drayton Bank hide and central bank. Most significant birdwise is the post-breeding build up of LITTLE EGRETS, with 18 logged again today, including the nesting pair and their offspring. It was also pleasing to see one pair of Great Crested Grebes with 3 small young, while Black-headed Gull numbers had increased to at least 334. Clearly associated with this arrival was a very fresh juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL. Found by Steve Rodwell during one of his regular mammoth sessions, the bird was commuting between the bales and fields in Cemetery Corner - see my pix below.















Great Crested Grebe and 3 young

 
Otherwise, fairly standard fare: 32 Mute Swans, 86 Greylag Geese, 6 Common Teal, 5 Shoveler, 35 Tufted Duck, 334 Coot, 96 Lapwing, 32 Common Terns (including at least 15 juveniles), HOBBY, 9+ Red Kite (foraging the fields as they were being muck-spread), Common Buzzards, 2+ Sparrowhawk (nesting again near the hide),Green Woodpecker, Jay, Great Tit (family party), Blackcap, 8+ Western Reed Warblers, 4 Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 15 Chaffinch (mainly juvenile, again taking advantage of the sillage), Song Thrush and 6 Common Whitethroats (family party).



Red Kites taking advantage of the spraying

 
There was no sign of the male Turtle Dove heard on Sunday in the orchard while Steve discovered a COMMON GREENSHANK on my departure - another first for the year.
 
Over at MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, both pairs of Coot have bred (one with 2 babies, the other with a single), with 4 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Greylag Geese, 41 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Wren noted, whilst STARTOPSEND yielded 5 Mute Swans, 56 Coot, 8 Tufted Duck and a pair of Great Crested Grebes with their single surviving youngster. TRINGFORD held all 7 Mute Swans (family group) and 78 Coot (some still nesting), with a female Tufted Duck with 3 ducklings. Up to 20 Common Terns were moving between all 3 reservoirs.





Elsewhere, the GREYLAG GOOSE was again with Atlantic Canada Geese in LOWNDES PARK, CHESHAM and all 18 Common Swifts were still around my garden in LITTLE CHALFONT, 3 days later than last year so far.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Recencies

With the water levels dropping at Wilstone, a few waders have appeared in the form of Common and Green Sandpipers and up to 18 Little Egrets are feeding. Elsewhere, several migrant COMMON REDSTARTS, including the long-staying male at College Lake BBOWT and juveniles on the Hills. Lots of butterflies out too, including Brown Argus, Gatekeepers and Chalkhill Blues. Here is a selection of my latest images -: