SUNDAY 1 NOVEMBER
Heavy rain persisted throughout the morning along with blustery WNW winds making birding conditions very unpleasant. It finally cleared early morning with brighter conditions following, although the wind still remained strong. Temperatures struggled to 15 degrees C. Despite an excellent Saturday where rare wildfowl was the main theme and a dapper male Black Redstart attracted the crowds, Sunday was largely a let down for me.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING
There was no sign of Saturday's Common Goldeneye but overnight rain had pushed water levels up attracting large numbers of dabblers to the SW shore - including 6 Mute Swans, 10 Greylag Geese, 143 Mallard, 15 Shoveler and 37 Common Teal whilst the open water held 4 Great Crested Grebes, a pair of Gadwall, 43 Tufted Ducks and an impressive 86 Northern Pochards.
Sadly, the road running alongside the reservoir harboured a fresh Badger casualty.
Few birds on Tringford - just 3 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Grey Herons, 1 Mute Swan, 2 Common Teal, 8 Gadwall and 6 Northern Pochard.
Totally windswept - 3 DUNLIN from the Drayton Bank Hide being the highlight, with the juvenile GREATER SCAUP still feeding on the east shore.
LONG MARSTON (HERTFORDSHIRE)
No sign of yesterday's adult male Black Redstart enjoyed and photographed by many (see blog)
WINGRAVE AREA (BUCKS)
Two adult Moorhens on the village pond at SP 870 192 with 41 Linnets just north of Lower Windmill Hill Farm at SP 872 184.
GROVEBURY SAND QUARRY (BEDFORDSHIRE)
Just outside the Tring Recording Area, 6 DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE were present until at least 0945 hours in driving rain (Johnny Lynch). They were not there when I visited mid afternoon.
TONGWELL LAKE, MILTON KEYNES (NORTH BUCKS)
The pair of GREATER SCAUP were showing very well diving frequently in front of the main island at Tongwell Lake at SP 867 423. Both birds were adults with the drake just moulting out of eclipse with patchy grey in the flanks, light grey vermiculations on the mantle, a black breast, a rich dark green sheen to the head and a pale blue bill with a dark nail restricted to the tip. The adult female had an extensive white blaze, extending on the forehead as well as at the sides of the bill, a similarly patterned bill, flat and broad dark brown head and breast and dark grey vermiculations on the sides, flanks and mantle.
FOXCOTE RESERVOIR (NORTH BUCKS)
(with Jenny Wallington; late afternoon)
Great Crested Grebe (7)
Little Grebe (5)
Mute Swans (38 including 6 first-winters)
Eurasian Wigeon (343)
Common Teal (27)
Northern Pochard (23)
Tufted Duck (63)
*RING-NECKED DUCK (the adult drake was still present roosting in the weed-covered section at the north end directly opposite the hide - occasionally lifted its head and still largely in eclipse plumage)
COMMON GOLDENEYES (3 present, my first of the autumn - an adult drake, a first-winter drake and a female)