SUNDAY 2 JANUARY
A much brighter day than of late but several degrees cooler. In fact, there was a slight frost overnight. It remained bright all day, with very light winds - in fact very pleasant all round.
I spent today 'mopping up' on a few local Year-ticks and checking out some late December 2010 rarities......Undoubted highlight was a flock of BARNACLE GEESE....
SILK MILL WAY PARK, TRING (HERTS) (SP 926 926)
A group of 4 Moorhens were feeding on the grass by the stream.
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
(with David Bilcock & Roy Hargreaves)
A late afternoon visit. Not much change from yesterday although wildfowl click-counting revealed the presence of 317 Common Teal, 239 Wigeon and 134 Northern Pochard; 12 Mute Swans remain as do a single Little Grebe, just 4 Great Crested Grebes and 8 NORTHERN PINTAILS (4 adult drakes).
A redhead GOOSANDER was on the ice-free section by the hide (Ian Williams had seen two earlier in the day) and the gull roost produced over 1,600 Black-headed, 96+ Common and 4 Lesser Black-backs. David did superb in picking out a standing roosting adult winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL - presumably the same bird last seen in early December.
MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
(with David & Roy, as well as Mike Campbell and Stuart Wilson; at least 12 others were also present)
For the second night running, one of the wintering EURASIAN BITTERNS chose to roost halfway up the hedgerow at the back of the reedbed - almost directly opposite the hide -allowing everybody present an opportunity to see it It remained there into darkness. We also saw the second bird - flying from left to right at the back of the reedbed at 1630 hours.
The resident BARN OWL also put in an appearance - hunting over the rank vegetation east of the sewage farm - and as dusk approached, TAWNY OWLS became very active in the tall trees bordering the compound - two birds at least calling.
Only a single WATER RAIL squealed and there was no sound of any Cetti's Warblers (although Ian had earlier seen the Wilstone individual as well as 54 roosting Corn Buntings).