Wednesday, 29 June 2011

First returning passage ICELANDIC BLACKWIT


Much cooler conditions than of late but clear blue skies and occasionally showers..........


Despite being there earlier when David Bilcock visited (see his images above), there was no sign of the single adult Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit on the marsh when I visited.

Both OYSTERCATCHERS and a single surviving youngster were on view, one pair of Common Redshanks with two young, numerous Lapwings and well grown chicks, 10 Common Terns and the pair of Mute Swans with one surviving cygnet


The right hand section is virtually dried up now and all that was in the pit were the 6 MANDARINS and the two pairs of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS (both pairs accompanying young this week)

(Evening visit; with Steve Rodwell)

The first returning waders on site today, with 1 of this morning's 3 COMMON SANDPIPERS still present this evening. Otherwise, a full inventory of birds included -:

Little Grebe (1 juvenile near the hide)
Great Crested Grebe (22 birds in total, including 1 independent juvenile and another younger bird still being attended to by the parents)
Cormorant (16)
LITTLE EGRET (6 birds present this evening, including 2 fresh juveniles)
Mute Swan (non-breeding flock of 43 birds)
Greylag Geese (193 moulting birds present)
Mandarin Duck (drake present for fourth day (SR)
EURASIAN WIGEON (oversummering drake)
Common Teal (large increase this evening with 12 birds feeding by hide)
Gadwall (8)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (pair near hide and two of 5 birds which have oversummered)
Tufted Duck (22)
Northern Pochard (9)
Coot (282 logged)
Lapwing (4 on spit)
OYSTERCATCHER (adult roosting on spit)
Black-headed Gulls (3 flew east)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Another CURLEW at the reservoirs

Despite the bright sunny weather it was nice to see something different this morning. After David had left I made my way to the hide and was most surprised to find a Curlew stood on the spit. It certainly hadn’t been there when we had scanned earlier. It was there until at least 7:20 when I left to do my BBS. Four Little Egrets, two Teal and the Wigeon were also present. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to check if the Goldeneye was still on Tringford.

During my BBS survey near Ivinghoe Aston I was very surprised to see four Crossbills fly over about five metres above the ground – easily the best thing I have seen while doing it (Roy Hargreaves)

Friday, 24 June 2011


Sally Douglas photographed this beautiful male SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARY in Wendover Woods today, one of two seen. Also, two Garden Warblers still singing.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

CURLEWS on the move......

At Wilstone Reservoir just prior to dark, Steve Rodwell had four EURASIAN CURLEWS fly over

Monday, 20 June 2011

Redshank drop in as autumn passage gets under way

1 Little Egret, 2 Redshank and 2 Teal were this morning’s highlights at Wilstone. 2 Cuckoos were flying around at Wilstone but when I first arrived one was singing from Little Tring direction.

Roy Hargreaves

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Johnne Taylor heard at least 1 caling QUAIL this afternoon at Gallows Hill, at the far east end of Ivinghoe Hills

Friday, 17 June 2011


Pleased to confirm the new raft went out on to Wilstone on Saturday, Well done to Mike Collard for raising the money and to everyone who contributed. We checked the other rafts on Thursday and counted 34 chicks, they were quite well advanced so we decided not to risk approaching them to ring them.The double-raft had 18 large chicks, the single HMWT raft held 6+ large chicks and the second (slightly listing) HMWT raft held 6 large and 4+ small chicks. I suspect there were more chicks than this, so if anyone has a higher count please let me know (Lynne Lambert)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Orchids blooming at College Lake

A second LITTLE RINGED PLOVER is sitting on the east island from the visitor centre hide, the pair that failed are still showing an interest with lots of displaying and scrape making in front of the octagon hide, at least 12 Lapwing chicks seen in varying stages of development and 3 Common Redshank chicks - one of which has fledged.

It seems that all the orchids at College Lake are having a bumper year this year. There are very good numbers of both common spotted and bee orchids, and pyramidal are just starting to flower, though they do seem rather stunted. Of interest is a variety of common spotted called albaflora (not my doing but the orchid books!) which has pure white flowers and unspotted leaves. Butterfly-wise - still good numbers of small blue on the wing and both meadow brown and marbled white now about.Finally saw my first brown hawker of the year, which according to the ID books is nearly three weeks early (Paul Reed)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011



A breezy day with the wind coming from the Southwest, with some heavy rain showers in between some long spells of warm sunshine.

Common Quail was the target of the day, along with Common Crossbill, whilst I took the opportunity to do some Corn Bunting surveying whilst over that way.........


Totternhoe is another traditional area for CORN BUNTINGS and I was very pleased to locate 5 different males in the Wellhead Road area (at least two males being paired up and breeding)


In rather blustery conditions, I failed in my attempt to locate the family of 4 Tree Sparrows that have bred successfully at Boarscroft (SP 879 174). However, at neighbouring Whitwell Farm (SP 882 171), at least 25 House Sparrows were to be found, as well as 2 Brown Hares in the field opposite.


Puttenham was very quiet, two male Greenfinches being the highlight - no nesting Spotted Flycatchers or House Martins that I could find.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

TREE SPARROWS breed successfully near Long Marston

Dave Hutchinson reports the success of a single pair of TREE SPARROWS at his nestbox site at a farm to the north of Long Marston - two baby birds having fledged.

These are the only Tree Sparrows in the Tring Recording Area and David recorded both adults at his feeding station several times this past winter

Exceptionally early juvenile BLACK-HEADED GULL - and LITTLE TERN of course


Another gorgeous day, with temperatures in the high 70's, blue skies and long spells of sunshine. The only change was an increasing Northeasterly wind, freshening up as the afternoon went on......

With a few Black Terns appearing with the change in wind, it was not too surprising when I heard that Roy Hargreaves had discovered a LITTLE TERN at Wilstone early afternoon. What was surprising though, particularly after this spring's local Sandwich Terns, just how long it lingered......


Frustratingly, it took me the best part of two hours to respond to Dave Bilcock's message. However, at 1445 hours, I was able to join the Brothers Young, Lawrence and DB at the top of the Wilstone steps - and yes, the LITTLE TERN was still performing.......

The bird, a typical adult, was flying back and forth in front of the Drayton Bank - seemingly fishing (although I never saw it dive). It was highly mobile and moving as far east as the jetty on occasions. It could be easily picked out by its small size and odd flight pattern, with a well-defined white forehead, distinctive black bill with a yellow tip and prominent dark narrow primary wedge on the outer wings.

The freshening wind seemed to deter it from moving on and although I departed the site at 1600 hours, the bird was still there when DB revisited at 2020 hours - a long stay indeed.

Another very intriguing sighting was of a juvenile Black-headed Gull feeding in front of the Drayton Bank hide - exceptionally early - and from which colony? There were also two further Black-headed Gulls present - a first-summer and an adult.

Otherwise, 16 Mute Swans were an increase, 16 Great Crested Grebes, the summering drake EURASIAN WIGEON (still in good plumage), 56 Greylag Geese, 2 Little Egrets,, 46 Common Terns and a small scattering of Common Swifts, Sand Martins and House Martins.

LITTLE TERN spends the day at Wilstone - Saturday 04 June

Wilstone first thing Saturday morning had three Little Egrets, an Oystercatcher and the male Wigeon. Early afternoon found me there again to try out my new camera teleconverter having already tried it out at College Lake. A quick scan to see if there was anything of interest to try and photograph. I was somewhat surprised to find a LITTLE TERN flying with the Common Terns. I rang a few people and then RBA and waited for David to arrive. We watched it until 13:35 and then we left to have our overdue lunches.

The Little Tern appeared settled, if such a term can be applied to a flying Tern, as it hunted over the reservoir (Roy Hargreaves)