TUESDAY 26 JANUARY
With a raw easterly wind blowing, temperatures dropped considerably this afternoon, and by dusk had decreased from 5 degrees to just 1.5 degrees C. Blue skies predominated, along with prolonged winter sunshine.
Did my late January counts of the Chess Valley and Tring Reservoirs, with the Wilstone gull roost highlighting..........
THE TRING RESERVOIRS (HERTS)
There was no sign of yesterday's drake Goosander on Tringford nor could I locate the three Pintail on Wilstone. In fact, duck numbers were well down in general, especially Shoveler.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR: of note were 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Mute Swans (including 1 first-winter), 24 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 43 Pochards and 76 Coot.
TRINGFORD RESERVOIR: a further 2 adult Mute Swans and another Great Crested Grebe.
MARSWORTH RESERVOIR: a post-roost gathering of 54 CORN BUNTINGS in the tall tree on the south side. Two Great Crested Grebes back now that the ice has melted but no Shoveler.
Wildfowl numbers were well down on recent visits with just 257 Eurasian Wigeon, 184 Common Teal and 8 Shoveler, whilst Great Crested Grebes had declined to just 8. The two Little Grebes were still present, whilst roosting Cormorants numbered a high 63 and 5 COMMON GOLDENEYES included 5 adult drakes.
It was the gull roost that took my main attention and carefully 'scoping them one-by-one and click-counting between 1630 and 1700 hours revealed the presence of an outstanding 4,398 birds.
Black-headed Gulls totalled 4,222, including several already moulted into breeding plumage, along with 173 COMMON GULLS (51 immatures) and 3 MEDITERRANEAN GULLS (including an adult with some black coming through on the forehead and two second-winters). The latter constituted my first of the year.