FRIDAY 23 AUGUST
Another very warm day with temperatures reaching 25 degrees C during the afternoon. The rain left off whilst the wind gradually freshened up from the SSE - premier conditions for rare and scarce birds. With large numbers of waders departing inland from the Wash, expectations were once again high......
The highlight at TRING RESERVOIRS today was the finding of two different GARGANEYS - one on Wilstone and another on Startop's End Reservoir. The latter was showing very well at times, Francis Buckle obtaining the first three images below and me the rest. It did keep to the centre with Mallard for some time, taking matter from the flotsam floating on the surface of the water.
Other wildfowl present included 3 Common Teal, the eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard and 91 Greylag Geese, whilst both juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS were still showing very well on the mud in the SW corner (see pix). Up to 45 Black-headed Gulls were on the mud, as well as 7 Common Terns, whilst 2 COMMON KINGFISHERS, 3 Grey Wagtails and 7 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS were also seen. Mike Collard and the ringers trapped a juvenile of the latter, as well as several juvenile Western Reed Warblers, but little else.
COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT just held the continuing juvenile RUFF.
Following an email from Steve Blain, I decided to head up north to BEDFORDSHIRE and BROOM GP. The second I set my 'scope up overlooking GYPSY LANE EAST PITS at 1650 hours, I realised there had been a big fall - no less than 31 RUFF were feeding in a close-knit mass on the close islands and emergent vegetation. This was by far the largest flock of Ruff I had ever encountered in the county and all were juveniles - a fact boding well for the rest of the autumn. I set about photographing the flock but it was difficult, especially as they spread out in amongst the Lapwings. I contacted Richard Bashford, MJP, Peter Smith and RBA to disseminate the news and in the hour that followed, Steve Blain, Robin Edwards, Roy Dunham, Stuart Warren and Jim Gurney turned up to savour the delights.
Although Steve's 2 Dunlin and Ringed Plovers had relocated to neighbouring Peacock's Lake, the COMMON GREENSHANK was still present (my first of the year), 6 Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper. The Shoveler offspring were still present as well as 2 juvenile Common Shelduck and a juvenile WHINCHAT was in vegetation in front of the pools. An adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was also a pleasant surprise.
I finished the day off with a visit to THE LODGE, SANDY, where in tall isolated pines near the fort I was very pleased to find a family party of 4 HOBBIES and 2 very vocal COMMON RAVENS; Goldcrest and Great Spotted Woodpecker were added too
Bedfordshire images appear on my Bedfordshire Birding blog