Monday, 2 August 2010

Early August counting

MONDAY 02 AUGUST

A day dominated by heavy cloud with few bright periods. Nevertheless, it was still fairly warm, but the wind was coming from the Northwest. I started off the month recording a total of 51 species......

CHESHAM VALE (BUCKS)

A party of 43 Jackdaws feeding in freshly cut hay meadow

HORSEBLOCK LANE (BUCKS)

Confirmed breeding of European Barn Swallow at Hillside Farm (SP 956 064), with a Grey Heron feeding in a field there and 3 Magpies.

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

Water level starting to drop very slowly with plenty of emergent vegetation along the west bank, attracting large numbers of dabbling Mallard and Coot. There was no sign of any hirundines or Common Swifts.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE* (marked increase with 18 birds recorded including 4 first-winters and a begging juvenile with one of its parents by the main car park)

Little Grebe (1 adult near the hide)
Continental Cormorant (14 roosting on the Drayton Bank)
Grey Heron (1)
LITTLE EGRET (juvenile showing well feeding by the hide)
Mute Swan (43+)
Greylag Goose (2)
Atlantic Canada Goose (14)
Gadwall (10)
Common Teal (1)
Northern Shoveler (5 - present since Friday)
Tufted Duck (26)
Northern Pochard (13)
Moorhen and Coot (604)
Lapwing (103)
COMMON SANDPIPER (2) (RH had seen 4 earlier in the day)
Black-headed Gull (12)
Common Terns (55)

Red Kite (1)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (noisy young screeching from the Poplar nest site by the hide)
COMMON KINGFISHER (the young bird photographed at the weekend still showing well by the hide)
Grey Wagtail (1)
Common Starling (3)

COMMON BLUES (10+ by car park)

ST MARY'S CHURCH, PUTTENHAM (HERTS)

The House martins were still present in the village but there was no sign of the Spotted Flycatcher family in the churchyard.

TRINGFORD RESERVOIR (HERTS)

The reservoir held 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Grey Heron, 3 Mute Swans, 2 Greylag Geese, 15 Tufted Ducks and 18 Coot.

STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

The water level on this reservoir has fallen sharply leaving a large muddy area in the SW corner. Birds noted included 1 Great Crested Grebe, 13 Mute Swans,, 61 Greylag Geese, 7 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Gadwall, the juvenile Red-crested Pochard, 8 Moorhens (5 juveniles) and 66 Coot.

MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

A total of 6 Great Crested Grebes present (including the sole youngster), 1 Mute Swan, 102 Mallard-types, 4 Coot (family party), Red Kite, 10+ Western Reed Warblers and 1 Great Tit.

On the neighbouring Grand Union Canal, a female Mute Swan was attending 4 cygnets and a family party of 7 Atlantic Canada Geese was encountered. The Mute Swan family that had been resting quietly on the far bank were very rudely and dangerously interrupted by a couple walking their very excited dog. The dog ran full pelt at the mother swan and caused major panic amongst the cygnets, the entire family having to plunge into the canal water. I shouted at the dog and their ignorant owners and stated to them that dogs should be kept on a lead at all times at this site but they told me to mind my own business and that they could do whatever they liked. They said that the swans were a danger to the children and to the canal users and should be put down - nice people !

PITSTONE QUARRY (HERTS)

Full of children screaming, playing and swimming, despite signs to the contrary warning of the hazards. Few birds of note other than 7 Dabchicks and 2 juvenile Pied Wagtails, whilst another Common Blue butterfly was noted.

DOWN FARM STUBBLE FIELDS, PITSTONE HILL (HERTS)

Virtually birdless with just Yellowhammer, Common Kestrel, Stock Dove and 4 Linnets noted.

NEW GROUND PUMPING STATION (HERTS)

Confirmed breeding of European Barn Swallow.

HADDEN'S PLANTATION, NEAR HEATH END (BUCKS) (SP 958 063)

A male BULLFINCH flew along the roadside