FRIDAY 24 JULY
A nice morning but then thick cloud, thunder and heavy rain moved in from the west bringing localised flooding for a couple of hours. Front moved quickly east leaving a bright evening but fresh SW winds
Today, I spent a lot of time trying to find Common Crossbill flocks, but failed again. The highlight was a party of 3 Red-crested Pochards at Tring.
Sadly, a freshly killed Badger on the northbound A413 at SP 899 009
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR (HERTS)
On the broad expanse of mud at 1700 hours were 3 roosting eclipse-plumaged RED-CRESTED POCHARDS, post-breeding birds perhaps from the Colne Valley.
There were also 30 Mute Swans, 72 Mallard, a female Tufted Duck with four small young, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 10 Moorhens (mostly juveniles)
A female Tufted Duck with a fresh brood of 9 ducklings.
The presumed escape female Red-crested Pochard was still present. In the reedbed, a female REED BUNTING was feeding young.
PITSTONE QUARRY (1800 hours)
The gull roost held 119 Black-headed Gulls (with just 4 juveniles), with the family party of 4 OYSTERCATCHERS also visiting briefly. Interestingly, the juvenile Oystercatchers are now very similar to the adults, although the white collar is quite prominent and the bill is slightly duller in colour and more pointed. The iris is still brownish-red and the eye-ring very dull.