Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A Red Letter Day - GREY PLOVER, more wildfowl and record count of LITTLE EGRETS


After failing badly in Suffolk first thing, with near gale force northerlies and driving rain, I made my way back to Hertfordshire and after a brief fattening up of my latest gathering of Edible Dormice, rushed out to Tring at pager reports of a Grey Plover at Wilstone. I was delighted to find it still present early afternoon, along with an ever-increasing throng of wildfowl and a record gathering of Little Egret.

Even at Wilstone, the wind was strong NNE, with heavy cloud and occasional showers.

(with Dave Cleal)

Great Crested Grebes (19)
*LITTLE EGRET (a new record count of 11 birds)(see Dave Bilcock's photograph above)
Mute Swan (32)
Gadwall (32)
*NORTHERN PINTAILS (four present, including one with Wigeon by the jetty on the east side and three together south of the hide)
Shoveler (marked increase; 87 birds)
EURASIAN WIGEON (major overnight increase with at least 62 birds present)
Common Teal (numbers keep going up and up with at least 203 counted)
Northern Pochard (106)

RINGED PLOVERS (all 3 juveniles still present; in NW corner)
**GREY PLOVER (the first of the year, a superb juvenile, showing to the right of the hide. Lanky bird, with long greyish legs, and a distinct grey wash of streaks across the mid-breast. Much whiter on the vent and undertail coverts with a white area at the forecrown, darker grey ear-coverts and fresh and neatly patterned dark-centred coverts on the upperwings, scapulars and mantle feathers. Characteristic black axillaries (armpits) when stretching and preening, with a white rump contrasting with a darker grey and barred upper tail and a striking white outer wing-bar on a dark outer hand. Photographed by DB later in the afternoon - see above - and still present at dusk. Superb record - TAW, LGRE, DC, Jason Chapman, et al)
Lapwing (major decrease - just 152)
RUFF (1 juvenile still present)
COMMON SNIPE (4 on the mud)


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