Monday, 7 October 2013

Ginormous increase in wildfowl and at last my first GOLDEN PLOVERS of year

Another dry day with above average temperatures (14 degrees C) and a light SW breeze
Went over to TYTTENHANGER GP first thing where the GREAT WHITE EGRET was showing extremely well on the scrape at the SE end of the complex, loosely in the company of Little Egrets and Grey Herons. It took a couple of large fish before taking to roosting in a tall Willow and during the two hours I was watching it, I obtained over 300 images - a selection of which are published below.....

 I then drove over to WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) and undertook a complete inventory of birds present, most notably the presence of some 2,468 wildfowl of 12 species....
It was wildfowl that had increased dramatically on Wilstone, the water level of which had fallen much more since my last visit last week - the spit between the Drayton Bank and the Jetty now largely above surface.

The views now from the Drayton Bank Hide and the extensive mud and to the right, the massive numbers of wildfowl in the shrinking lagoon

 Although Greylag Geese remained 31 in number, the arrival of a family party of 5 Mute Swans from the Dry Canal pushed that species' total to 52.

Three cygnets seen recently on Tringford have arrived on Wilstone with their parents

 Mallard (184)
Eurasian Wigeon (718 - massive increase)
Gadwall (83 - again, massive increase)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (26 present, my largest count in years)
Shoveler (156)
Common Teal (940 - vast increase)
GARGANEY (1 still present)
Northern Pochard (206)
Tufted Duck (68)

Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Pochard & Shoveler - all increased dramatically

 In addition, 15 Great Crested Grebe, 11 Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron were present, along with 37 Cormorants.

 Waders included 8 Common Snipe, 4 long-staying BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, 2 juvenile RUFF, 188 Lapwing, a juvenile RINGED PLOVER and 28 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER, whilst the pre-roost gull flock yielded 553 Black-headed and 3 first-winter MEDITERRANEAN GULLS. Also flighting east to roost were 78 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 3 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS.

 Otherwise, 2 mobile SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPITS were moving between the mud in the old overflow corner and Cemetery Corner, 6 GREY WAGTAILS were present, 2 Pied Wagtails, COMMON KINGFISHER, 14 Long-tailed Tits (in the north hedgerow) and 72 REDWING over

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