Monday, 19 December 2011

No sign of reported Twite


Another sharp frost overnight but as the morning progressed, a front edged in from the west bringing heavier and heavier rain from early afternoon and recovering temperatures to 6 degrees C by nightfall.

At around 1300 hours, Alan Gardiner and Steve Blake alerted me to the report of a Twite at Startop's End Reservoir by an unknown observer. I immediately spoke to Dave B but he was in Sandy, so despite the rain, made my way over to check the report out........


Jason Chapman was lunchtime twitching the SNOW BUNTING shortly after I arrived and together we obtained yet more outstanding views of this first-winter male, both in the Herts section and Bucks section of the north bank.

I then did the full circumference of the reservoir - at the water's edge - but nothing more than the Snow Bunting and 3 Pied Wagtails. Like Roy, I believe the report almost certainly related to the bunting, as surprisingly enough, many features overlap if you are working from a field guide and are a relative novice.

In terms of waterbirds, little of change, with the reservoir holding 5 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Mute Swans, 65 Gadwall (highest count in a long while), 31 Wigeon, 22 Shoveler, 37 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard, 287 Coot and 10 Moorhens.


No Twite but 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Mute Swans, 6 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 26 Tufted Duck, 6 Pochard and 62 Coots. Marsworth Reservoir was still covered in a thin layer of ice. All of the reservoirs bar Wilstone had an ice covering of some sort.


Walked right round checking the edges and no Twite amongst the 31 wintering Linnets on the margins. No sign of the male Common Shelduck either, nor of the 5 Goldeneyes.....

The first-winter DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE was still frequenting the Cemetery Corner fields with the 7 Atlantic Canada Geese and the 67 Greylags, whilst all 4 BEWICK'S SWANS were on the Drayton Lagoon from the hide.

On the water were counted 11 Great Crested Grebes, just 9 Mute Swans (most are now on College), 311 Wigeon (an increase again), 18 Shoveler, 230 Common Teal, 42 Tufted Duck, 106 Pochard and 752 Coot.

In the hedgerows, large numbers of winter thrushes feeding on the hawthorn berries including 66 Fieldfare, 22 Redwing and 12 Common Blackbirds.


In the town centre, the adult female PEREGRINE was roosting and in the main shopping precinct, 38 Pied Wagtails were roosting in the small bush in front of the British Heart Foundation charity shop

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