Tuesday, 10 September 2013

More Passage Waders

The unsettled nature of the weather continued today with long spells of rain at times and a lot of heavy cloud. Temperatures struggled to reach 13 degrees C whilst the wind direction was a brisk Northwesterly. The theme today was of more passage waders...........
The pair of BULLFINCH visited one of the birdtables in my LITTLE CHALFONT garden early morning, the first visit in a while.
My first visit to WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) today was from 0930-1230 hours - the highlight being the arrival of 3 'new' juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWITS and a splendid performance by up to 5 HOBBIES. Despite a long vigil, there was no confirmed sightings of the Spotted Crake all day - just 4 WATER RAILS causing identification problems, particularly the juveniles.
The roll call was thus -:
Great Crested Grebe (16 counted, including an adult feeding two stripy juveniles)
Little Grebe (first-winter still present by hide)
Sinensis Cormorant (37, including 1-2 juveniles in a late Drayton Bank nest)
Grey Heron (8 including one with a small Pike - see images below)

Little Egret (10)
Mute Swan (41)
Greylag Goose (68+)
Mallard (116)
Gadwall (increase to 21)
Shoveler (75)
Eurasian Wigeon (58)
Common Teal (370) (but no sign of 2 Garganey nor of any Pintail yet)
Northern Pochard (38)
Tufted Duck (121)
Red Kite (1)
Common Buzzard (4)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1)
HOBBY (5 mobbing a Common Buzzard at one instance, with a lot of practising from the two juveniles)

WATER RAIL (4 - 3 juveniles - all along SE shoreline)
Moorhen (51)
Coot (772)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (juvenile still present)
Lapwing (215)
COMMON GREENSHANK (still present and favouring 'crake' shore)
Common Snipe (5)
Black-headed Gull (300)
Common Tern (7)
Woodpigeon (75)
Stock Dove (1)
House Martin (15)
Pied Wagtail (13)
Wren (1)
Robin (1)
Goldcrest (1 behind hide)
Great Tit (2)
Having still not seen a Whinchat in Hertfordshire this year, I then set off for BEECH FARM/ELLENBROOK FIELDS, where I carried out a thorough search. Acres of suitable habitat but just no birds to be found - no redstarts, warblers or chats. All that was of note were 3 Green Woodpeckers, Common Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch and 2 Common Chiffchaffs.
After just conversing with Alan Reynolds re: King's Mead Whinchats, Steve Blake came up with a better option - Paul Lewis had just found 2 near HERONSGATE - just within my immediate Recording Area. A quick call to Paul revealed their exact location and after a swift walk, I eventually located both birds (juveniles) along the fenceline at TQ 026 947, just under a mile NW of Junction 17 of the M25. On the opposite side of the footpath (at TQ 031 946), 3 NORTHERN WHEATEARS were together in the ploughed field. I successfully photographed all 5 birds (see below). Three Meadow Pipits were also in one of the meadows.

 I then returned to WILSTONE RESERVOIR from 1800-1930 hours where just 2 of the 4 juvenile RUFF discovered by JT and Jeff Bailey mid afternoon were still present left of the Drayton Bank Hide. This makes this autumn's total 9 individuals - the largest influx in over 20 years. I photographed both birds (below). A 5th juvenile BLACK-TAILED GODWIT had also arrived, all 5 birds wading in shallow water in the NW corner. A YELLOW WAGTAIL was to the right of the hide, with 3 GREY WAGTAILS along the North Shore, whilst 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew east at dusk.

Greylag Geese at dusk

And sunset

 Exciting times currently at the reservoirs. What will tomorrow bring?

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