Monday, 1 October 2012

Swarming with HOUSE MARTINS


October dawned rather wet but after an hour or so, the skies cleared and gave way to much brighter conditions. The wind was in the southwest and it was rather mild at 14.5 degrees C............

(1100-1200 hours)

Still having not seen a Wheatear within the 'official' Tring Reservoirs Recording Area this calendar year, I followed up Ian Williams find of yesterday. As Ian had told me, the ploughed field was full of birds, including 12 Mistle Thrushes, Yellowhammer, 15 Meadow Pipits, about 80 Linnets and 31 Chaffinches.......but no Wheatear

Moving on to the main reservoir, highlight for me were the 10 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the bund - my first of the year

A full inventory of birdlife included 11 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Sinensis Cormorant, 8 Grey Heron, 6 LITTLE EGRET, 42 Mute Swan, 4 Greylag Geese, 119 Mallard, 12 Gadwall, 331 Common Teal, 83 Eurasian Wigeon, 5 NORTHERN PINTAIL, 103 Shoveler, 79 Northern Pochard, 299 Tufted Duck (a massive influx), 797 Coot, Common Kestrel, 4 Common Buzzards, 103 Lapwing, a single COMMON REDSHANK on mud left of hide for its third day, 37 Black-headed Gull, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Kingfisher, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, 39 Rook, 77 Jackdaw, 8 Meadow Pipits west, the odd Swallow but an enormous swarm of HOUSE MARTINS numbering at least 400 birds....

A dead BADGER was a sad sight on the Ivinghoe Road (B489) - at the peak of the hill NE of College Farm at SP 928 149

(1215-1430 hours)

Again, the main talking point from the Piccadilly Hill tumulus vizmig site was the number of HOUSE MARTINS migrating SW - over 100 in tiotal, as well as 40 Barn Swallows...

Not one species of chat could be found on the fenceline but the single CORN BUNTING was still alive, and in the large ploughed field adjacent were 27 Skylarks and a whopping 337 LINNETS.

Steps Hill had at least 3 Jays on the move and a single Coal Tit

Lean pickings I am afraid

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