FRIDAY 13 AUGUST
A day of fairly frequent heavy downpours, sadly pushing up the water levels at Wilstone........
TRINGFORD RESERVOIR (HERTS)
Hirundines were the order of the day with the stormy conditions grounding over 500 at the reservoirs today. Tringford attracted the European Barn Swallow element, with 28 (mostly juveniles) counted.
Otherwise, just 1 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Grey Herons and 2 Mute Swans.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR (HERTS)
Throughout the afternoon, the two 'ruddy' juvenile ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS fed in the SW corner of the reservoir, commuting between the shoreline and the food-rich river inflow. They afforded some outstanding views and remained present despite being flushed on several occasions.
The mud also held 64 Black-headed Gulls and the reservoir single Gadwall and Northern Pochard but most impressive were the hirundine numbers - 233 in total - involving 176 SAND MARTINS and 57 House Martins. Above them, 8 COMMON SWIFTS were feeding.
MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
There were just 2 Great Crested Grebes to be found, whilst in the overflow vicinity were COMMON KINGFISHER, Green Woodpecker and 4 Western Reed Warblers.
WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS)
With the deluge of rain, water levels had risen substantially again, forcing the Coot flocks and dabbling ducks back out into the centre of the reservoir. This too could explain the disappearance of the drake Garganey, as there was no sign of it in an exhaustive search.
Once again, it was the number of hirundines that was impressive, with SAND MARTIN predominating (255 in total) and 95 House Martins.
The Systematic List - 14+ Great Crested Grebes (including a single begging youngster being fed), 54 Mute Swans, 8 Gadwall, 15 Common Teal, 13 Northern Pochard, 12 Shoveler, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 102 Lapwing, adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Common Tern and 2 Grey Wagtails.
Newly noted was a family of Moorhens (3 recently fledged babies) by the old overflow, excellent views of a juvenile COMMON KINGFISHER contact-calling, 5 Long-tailed Tits in the Overflow Hedge and a juvenile WILLOW WARBLER at the same site.
PITSTONE QUARRY (HERTS)
The undoubted highlight here was two bikini-clad models being photographed just prior to a lashing rainstorm. For some reason, the magazine editors wanted a backdrop of chalk and blue water and instructed the two girls to walk out on to the spit and vogue in jungle-like garb painted across their faces.
The juvenile COMMON GREENSHANK looked on whilst the first real build-up of graellsii saw 33 present - 29 full adults, 1 near-adult and 2 juveniles.