At the re-opened COLLEGE LAKE, things had returned to normal after being packed out on New Years Day. The marsh is almost completely frozen, however the main lake remains free of ice and contained good numbers of wildfowl, though not a hoped-for Smew! Great to have the patch open again. Highlights included;
3 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS (drake and two ducks) still, on the main island and rear bank
4 Great-crested Grebes - This is a monster count for the site, as Great-crested are strangely rare at College Lake
4 Little Grebes
2 Common Snipe - One on the frozen marsh, one on the main island
6 COMMON GOLDENEYE
A through search produced no sign of the Common Sandpiper found by Dave Bilcock on New Years Day. There have also recently been two Stonechats at the far end of the reserve
Elsewhere, the rest of the Bucks Tring areas I checked produced very little. Both Pitstone Hill and Steps Hill were very quiet, as were Startops and Marsworth, both of which were 90%+ frozen. Two separate sessions looking for the Marsworth Bitterns, late morning and mid afternoon, produced no success, which wasn't helped by an air ambulance circling the reed-bed and landing on the causeway between the reservoirs.
Earlier, 50 European Golden Plovers were in the fields alongside Beggars Lane, at the Tring Station end.
Cheers & Good Birding,