Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A comprehensive breeding bird survey of Tring Reservoirs and some delightful TURTLE DOVES just outside the Recording Area

European Turtle Dove at Totternhoe Knolls, Bedfordshire (David Bilcock)

All morning long, heavy rain fell, leaving little opportunity for birding. It eventually cleared away to the east, giving rise to the occasional heavy shower, but remained fairly warm with light winds. I utilised the afternoon and evening by surveying........

A full and comprehensive survey of the breeding birds as in June 2010, encompassing Wilstone, Marsworth, Tringford and Startop's End Reservoirs. A total of 60 species.

1) GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Successful breeding: 6 pairs present on Wilstone, with 1 pair attending two small young; another pair on Startop's and 6 adults on Marsworth, one pair again attending two quite well-grown stripy young)
2) Continental Cormorant (sinensis) (10 active nests in largest trees on Wilstone's Drayton Bank, all containing young)
3) Grey Heron (25 active nests on Wilstone, with many young birds now fledged)
4) Mute Swan (no sign of the family party of recent times, but 15 present on Wilstone, 1 on Marswotrth and 16 on Tringford)
5) Greylag Goose (23 birds present on Wilstone with a further 82 - separate flocks of 37 and 45 - on Startop's)
6) Atlantic Canada Goose (present on both Wilstone and Startop's)
7) Mallard (9 well-grown young on Marsworth, whilst two females both with 7 young on Tringford)
8) GADWALL (6+ on Wilstone)
9) NORTHERN SHOVELER (breeding certainly a possibility this year with three drakes summering and roosting today on the Drayton Bank)
10) NORTHERN POCHARD (10 drakes and at least four females present on Wilstone with an additional two drakes on Startop's)
11) RED-CRESTED POCHARD (the adult female was today on Startop's whilst her only surviving offspring of 9 young was showing very well close to the causeway on Marsworth)
12) Tufted Duck (52 present on Wilstone and congregating in two main flocks, with just 4 on Tringford and 16 on Startop's)
13) Red Kite (1-2 overhead)
14) Common Buzzard (a pair present on Wilstone)
15) Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1 active nest as usual close to the Drayton Bank Hide on Wilstone)
16) Red-legged Partridge (two pairs by the Dry Canal on Wilstone)
17) Common Pheasant (fairly common in fields surrounding Wilstone)
18) Moorhen (present and presumed breeding)
19) Eurasian Coot (breeding on Wilstone confirmed by pairs respectively attending 4, 5, 2, 2 and 2 chicks, with 351 adults click-counted - in feeding gatherings of 286 and 65 - with 12 birds on Tringford and 23 on Startop's; 2 pairs on Marsworth with one female attending 6 young)
20) Lesser Black-backed Gull (first-year flew over Marsworth)
21) Common Tern (at least 25 active nests on the Wilstone rafts with a minimum of 6 young counted)

22) Woodpigeon (present)
23) Stock Dove (2 pairs breeding in trees by the former boatyard on Wilstone)
24) Eurasian Collared Dove (nesting birds at Wilstone Great farm and in Marsworth village)
25) COMMON CUCKOO (calling male at back of Marsworth reedbed presumably looking to parasitise Western Reed Warblers)
26) Common Swift (still large numbers overhead, including 330 on Wilstone)
27) Eurasian Skylark (3 pairs in cereal crops at back of Wilstone)
28) SAND MARTIN (16 birds present on Wilstone, either late spring migrants or failed breeders)
29) European Barn Swallow (breeding pairs in farms at Drayton Beauchamp and at Startop Farm)
30) House Martin (6 present on Marsworth)
31) Pied Wagtail (present)
32) Wren (at least 9 territories on Wilstone and a further 3 around Marsworth)
33) Dunnock (present but in small numbers)
34) European Robin (6 territories on Tringford, with at least 5 on Wilstone)
35) Song Thrush (singing male in Marsworth Wood)
36) Mistle Thrush (pair successfully fledged young from Marsworth Wood)
37) Common Blackbird (at least 17 pairs around reservoirs)
38) Blackcap (2 territories in Marsworth Wood, 4 around Tringford and perhaps 7 on Wilstone)
39) COMMON WHITETHROAT (3 singing males around Dry Canal on Wilstone)
40) Sedge Warbler (very poor numbers, with perhaps 5 nesting pairs on Marsworth and 3-8 on Wilstone)
41) CETTI'S WARBLER (two vocal birds on Marsworth)
42) Western Reed Warbler (up to 12 breeding pairs on Marsworth and actively gathering food, with perhaps similar numbers in Wilstone reedbed)
43) Common Chiffchaff (just 1 singing male today - in the tall Poplars behind Marsworth reedbed; breeding confirmed)
44) Goldcrest (the only singing bird noted was on Wilstone)
45) Great Tit (several family parties on Wilstone)
46) Blue Tit (successful breeding on Marsworth and Wilstone)
47) Long-tailed Tit (present on Wilstone)
48) Common Magpie (small numbers present)
49) Jay (pair breeding behind Tringford and another pair on Wilstone)
50) Western Jackdaw (breeding in natural holes on Tringford)
51) Rook (rookery containing 23 active nests on Tringford)
52) Carrion Crow (several nesting pairs)
53) Common Starling (present, with confirmed breeding by Wilstone Great Farm and in Marsworth village)
54) House Sparrow (13+ around feeders by Angler's Retreat)
55) Chaffinch (breeding on both Wilstone and in Marsworth Wood - 8 pairs at least)
56) Linnet (2-3 pairs in the Dry canal area)
57) Goldfinch (present and breeding)
58) Greenfinch (small numbers noted, mainly at back of Tringford)
59) REED BUNTING (at least 4 singing males in Marsworth Reedbed and much display activity taking place)
60) YELLOWHAMMER (2 singing males in fields between Rushy Meadow and Dry Canal)

(Evening visit)

A REAL TREAT. Despite the heavy rain showers, walking along the muddy footpath adjacent to the Lime and Stone Company in Limekiln Lane and beyond the numerous MAN ORCHIDS to the overgrown lime pits, I was absolutely delighted to find 4 different 'purring' and displaying male EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVES in the scrub thereabouts. Francis Buckle, Roy Nye and Dave Bilcock had visited previously and very kindly tipped me off of their presence - such gorgeous birds and fabulous to see so many locally.

The scrub also held several pairs of Stock Dove whilst singing male CORN BUNTINGS were seen here and in neighbouring Wellhead Lane in Toddington village (5 janglers in total).

No comments: