Friday, 27 September 2013

Mute Swan 679

679 still present on Wilstone

Big increase in wildfowl particularly PINTAILS

Another Indian Summer-like day with clear blue skies, long periods of sunshine and temperatures in the high 60's - wind light easterly too, gradually increasing by dark
At WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS), there had been a large increase in wildfowl - most notably in 14 PINTAILS - the highest number in many years. Also 270 Eurasian Wigeon, 460 Common Teal, 146 Shoveler, 21 Gadwall and 216 Northern Pochard, as well as the 45 Mute Swans (including adult '479'). and the two long-staying GARGANEYS.

A large intake of PINTAILS - 5 roosting in this shot on the spit

2 upending together

 Waders were poorly represented with just 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS remaining and 206 Lapwing, whilst 4 HOBBIES remain, 11 Little Egrets and 18 Sinensis Cormorants; a Jay was on the East Bank - and this juvenile Great Crested Grebe (1 of 15)....

TRINGFORD RESERVOIR held all 7 Mute Swans (the 5 cygnets still surviving) whilst the 2 adult WHOOPER SWANS were quickly seen off by the cob Mute, while MARSWORTH held just 2 Great Crested Grebes.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR was still looking attractive in the SW corner and harboured 3 first-year LITTLE GREBES, 7 Great Crested Grebes (including the 4 juveniles), 172 Coot, 2 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 4 Teal, drake Gadwall, 63 Tufted Duck and 12 Moorhen. Sadly, this adult Great Crested Grebe was dead on the mud.

 On my way home, an inventory of CHESHAM'S LOWNDES PARK revealed the presence of 298 Atlantic Canada Geese and 8 Muscovy Ducks.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

CURLEWS displaced in the fog

Summer seems to have returned with temperatures this afternoon reaching a balmy 24 degrees C. Light winds throughout and clear skies but thick fog over part of the area until mid morning....
At home in the garden, 4 BULLFINCH visited the Sunflower Heart feeder for about 20 minutes around 0900 hours whilst over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING), a full inventory went like this........
Highlight was a party of 4 EURASIAN CURLEW and single BLACK-TAILED GODWIT that arrived noisily from the east at 1209, not that long after the fog had cleared. After a few flyarounds, they eventually came down on the Drayton bank and were still present after I had walked round to the hide from the jetty. I was able to take a large number of images (see immediately below) before they finally flew off strongly SSW at 1316. Bill Pegram, JT and Ken Simmons all connected.

Great Crested Grebe (15 - including the 2 juveniles)
Little Egret (10)
Grey Heron (3)
Mute Swan (45)
Greylag Geese (78)
Mallard (260)
Common Teal (535 - large increase)
Eurasian Wigeon (135 - increase)
Gadwall (29)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (4 present - 3 drakes and a female - my first of the autumn)
Northern Pochard (146)
Tufted Duck (not counted)
Red-crested Pochard (2, with both juveniles still surviving on Tringford too)
Red Kite (5)
Common Buzzard (6)
HOBBY (at least 3 still present)
WATER RAILS (8 along SE shore and another by the hide)
Coot (down to 501 birds)
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (still 4 juveniles present whilst an additional bird arrived with the Curlew)
COMMON GREENSHANK (long-stayer still present in Cemetery Corner)
Common Kingfisher (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Meadow Pipit (slight passage - 4 birds)
Grey Wagtail (4)
Mistle Thrush (2)
LESSER WHITETHROAT (3 - 2 in the East Hedgerow and another in the orchard)
Blackcap (male in the orchard)
Long-tailed Tit (roving flock of 16 in wood behind hide)
Chaffinch (light passage - 5 birds noted)
Bullfinch (pair in the orchard)

The 'new' Black-tailed Godwit

Up to 8 Water Rails running around on the mud

Grey Heron taking advantage of a manure heap

......and the view from Cemetery Corner


Just in the nick of time, HOBBY was added to my Recording Area Yearlist, with a family party of 4 birds hunting over the wood (Don Stone had 5); also Sparrowhawk, 11 Common Buzzard, 15 Red Kite and 28 Stock Doves, with 6 Barn Swallows through.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

CRANE flies over

Steve Rodwell watched a COMMON CRANE fly over Wilstone at 3pm this afternoon, ample reward for a four hour spell spent gazing skyward from the bank edge.

Reports from the weekend also included 1-2 GARGANEY, 7 Water Rails, 3 PINTAILS (first this autumn) and 4 BLACKL-TAILED GODWITS (SR, DB, et al)

Friday, 20 September 2013

A sharp intake of RUFF

Jeff Bailey and I checked Wilstone this afternoon and were pleasantly surprised by the presence of another 5 juvenile RUFF - 3 males and two females. Five BLACK-TAILED GODWITS were also present, the GREENSHANK and a single DUNLIN, as well as the 2 adult WHOOPER SWANS from Bedfordshire. Just 3 Common Terns, 3 Hobbies and 10 Little Egrets were also seen...