Wednesday, 23 February 2011

WATER PIPIT at last, whilst waterfowl clearly on the move


A very wet morning but considerably milder than of late, with temperatures recovering to 14 degrees C by mid-afternoon - spring is on the way! The drizzle did eventually clear at about 1300 hours but grey cloud prevailed throughout.

I managed to clean up on Dunlin and Water Pipit today and evidenced hints of migration......


Thanks to Roy Hargreaves, I was finally able to add WATER PIPIT to my local Year List. I have been chasing this bird since the turn of the year but at long last it has finally given itself up and was showing well early afternoon just yards before the new overflow on the north bank, feeding unobtrusively and fertively along the concrete edge. It still remains in full streaked winter plumage.

The other interesting thing was the number of COMMON GOLDENEYES - a total of 10 seen, by far my highest count this winter. The two adult drakes were still present and for about five minutes, both birds with three females flew around as if they were getting ready to depart.

Also noted were 19 Great Crested Grebe, 2 LITTLE EGRETS, 12 active Grey Heron nests on the Drayton Bank, 1 Mute Swan, 65 Greylag Geese, 12 Gadwall, just 34 remaining Eurasian Wigeon, 73 Common Teal, 33 Shoveler, 39 Pochard, 38 Tufted Duck, just 172 Coot,316 Woodpigeons (feeding on the crop), 8 Common Starlings and 9 Redwings.


I decided to do a complete census of the birds present in the woodland bordering the south end of the reservoir with a total of 18 species recorded. The reservoir held just 2 Mute Swans, a Great Crested Grebe and 5 Teal but the wood produced 54 Jackdaws (several pairs now on territory), 7 Rook, Great Spotted Woodpecker (drumming), Robin (4), Blue Tit (9, mostly singing or displaying), Goldfinch (12), Common Blackbird (4), Song Thrush (2, 1 in the gardens and a singing male), Mistle Thrush (pair), Jay (pair), Great Tit (3 singing males), Dunnock (singing male), Wren (just 1 songster noted), Long-tailed Tit (pair) and Chaffinch (4). A single SISKIN was the highlight but note no Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper or Coal Tit.

A single Skylark was in full song over fields south of the Grand Union Canal by Little Tring.


Most interesting was an apparent migrant flock of female COMMON GOLDENEYES - 8 birds together in one close-knit flock on the main pit.

Otherwise, typically quiet with just the 1 OYSTERCATCHER still (on the island on the main pit), 8 Common Snipe and 12 Lapwing on the marsh, 3 Mute Swans, 2 Gadwall, 4 Wigeon and 9 Pochard. A flock of winter thrushes was feeding on one of the islands including 3 Mistle Thrush, 15 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing.


A Song Thrush was an unusual sighting here whilst 8 Pied Wagtails were clearly freshly arrived immigrant birds.

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