THURSDAY 26 FEBRUARY
A much colder day than of late with a westerly element to the wind. The sun did attempt to break through but largely failed and it remained grey and overcast all day
First off, I did some ROOK surveying and in the tall trees surrounding Pendley Manor (SP 941 117), I located 17 active nests in total, with 11 visible from the Grass Roots Stadium and 6 behind the Court Theatre. A short distance away, I located another rookery of 8 nests in trees bordering the railway line SE of Tring Station at SP 953 117.
A pair of Common Buzzard was also displaying over Pendley Manor.
PITSTONE QUARRY (SP 943 143)
The 3 adult WHOOPER SWANS that Steve Rodwell had seen at 0900 hours had moved on.
Of note were: 1 Little Grebe, 8 Common Teal, 34 Tufted Duck, 2 drake Pochard, 26 Coot, 4 Moorhen, 137 Black-headed Gulls and 3 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A Common Buzzard was soaring overhead, with single Song Thrush and a Robin in song.
Very quiet, with damage noted on a window in the Director's Hide - it was completely missing.
Great Crested Grebe (single still present on marsh)
Mute Swans (7 including a group of 5 first-winters)
Canada Geese (5)
Eurasian Wigeon (19)
Gadwall (just 2)
Shoveler (3 including 1 drake)
Tufted Duck (21)
RED-CRESTED POCHARD: just 3 remaining (adult drake and two females)
OYSTERCATCHER still (on island in marsh)
TRING RESERVOIRS (1230-1350)
Wildfowl numbers much depleted, particularly Wigeon, with the water level on Startop's End dropping to reveal a small margin of mud. A total of 41 species was noted.
Great Crested Grebe (22, with 15 on Marsworth, 2 on Startop's End, 1 on Tringford and 4 on Wilstone) Two pairs were 'dancing' in display on Marsworth.
Little Grebe (1 on Wilstone)
Continental Cormorant (2 pairs nesting on Wilstone, in the largest tree on the central bank; 25 others)
Grey Heron (1 on Tringford with 15 nesting on the Drayton Bank on Wilstone - 5 in the tallest tree, 5 in the middle belt and 5 in bushes on the Drayton Bank nearest the hide)
Mute Swan (14 adults on Tringford, a first-winter on Marsworth and none on Wilstone)
Canada Geese (18 on Startop's End, with 52 feeding in a field adjacent to Tringford)
Greylag Geese (2 with the field-feeding Canadas above)
Mallard (not counted)
Gadwall (18 on Wilstone)
Shoveler (223, with 116 on Marsworth and 107 on Wilstone)
Eurasian Wigeon (dramatic decline in numbers with just 83 on Wilstone)
Common Teal (4 on Startop's End, with 4 on Wilstone)
Pochard (52, with 18 on Marsworth, 12 on Startop's End and 22 on Wilstone)
Tufted Duck (128, with 26 on Startop's End, 25 on Tringford and 77 on Wilstone) The well-marked Scaup-type hybrid was also present on Wilstone
COMMON GOLDENEYE (2 drakes and 2 females on Wilstone)
*RUDDY DUCK (6 individuals on Wilstone - 2 adult drakes, an immature drake and 3 females)
Common Kestrel (female by B489 by Wilstone Green)
Moorhen (8 on Marsworth)
Coot (258, with 6 on Marsworth, 28 on Startop's End, 22 on Tringford and 202 on Wilstone)
Lapwing (10 on rafts on Wilstone)
Black-headed Gull (39)
Common Gull (3 adults)
Woodpigeon (not counted)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 in Tringford Wood)
Wren (1 singing in Tringford Wood)
Dunnock (1 singing in Tringford Wood)
European Robin (2 singing males in Marsworth Wood, with 3 more in Tringford Wood)
*COMMON STONECHAT (the wintering female still present in its favoured weedy patch alongside the Grand Union Canal east of the Tringford Pumping Station at SP 920 129)
Song Thrush (2 singing males in Tringford Wood)
Redwing (4 in Tringford Wood)
Common Blackbird (1 male in garden by Tringford Pumping Station)
Great Tit (3 in Tringford Wood)
Blue Tit (2 in Tringford Wood)
Long-tailed Tit (3 in Marsworth Wood)
Jackdaw (30 in Tringford Wood)
Carrion Crow (2 on Wilstone)
House Sparrow (34 by the Angler's Retreat)
Chaffinch (singing male in Marsworth Wood)
Greenfinch (1 in Tringford Wood)
SISKIN (12 in Tringford Wood)
LONG MARSTON VILLAGE
Collared Dove, 8 Common Starlings, a singing Robin and a dead Badger in Tring Road just NE of Wilstone village.
Three different Common Kestrels noted including a male just NE of the village, another male by 'Acorns' at Westend Hill and another male by Elsage Farm. Three Moorhens were on the tiny pond by the railway by Cheddington Station at SP 922 184.
A RED KITE was hunting east of the B488 at SP 925 185, whilst a further Common Kestrel was north of Horton village.
GROVEBURY SAND QUARRY (BEDFORDSHIRE)
Great Crested Grebes (2), Wigeon (pair), Teal (20), Pochard (22), Common Goldeneye (female)
Common Gulls (52), Lesser Black-backed Gull (18 adults) Grey Wagtail (female)