FRIDAY 7 NOVEMBER
Another day of rain - and lots of it! I was hoping once again for Woodpigeon passage, particularly when I heard of David Darrell-Lamberts' 20,000+ over Chafford Hundreds early morning, but conditions were not conducive again and I gave Ivinghoe Beacon a wide berth.
I decided to return to WICK FARM AND ENVIRONS, BETWEEN HASTOE CROSS AND WIGGINTON BOTTOM (HERTS) - accessed along The Ridgeway from SP 923 094 - where I had seen a large flock of LINNETS last week. The environmentally-friendly farmer here has left several food-rich weedy fields and farmland birds are in plentiful supply. I photographed the LINNET flock - at least 495 birds being present - whilst STOCK DOVES numbered 92.
Raptors included a Red Kite, dark morph juvenile Common Buzzard (feeding here on an earthworm) and male Common Kestrel, whilst other birds noted included 6 BRAMBLING, 45 Chaffinch, 28 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer, 3 Jays and a few Carrion Crow and Common Magpies.
Skylarks in flight
A Red Kite
Common Buzzard feeding on earthworms
Lots of Stock Doves
WILSTONE RESERVOIR (TRING) in heavy rain yielded 2 male Common Pheasant and 17 Red-legged Partridge in the field behind the Drayton Bank Hide, the latter my first of the year, whilst the rollcall remained the same as of recent days (LITTLE STINT, BLACK-TAILED GODWIT & WATER PIPIT).
I then revisited RYE MEADS RSPB RESERVE from 1400-1630 hours, sitting in the Lapwing Hide watching the juvenile GLOSSY IBIS in the hope of getting some better images. With such heavy rain, that was certainly a no-no, especially with the bird sticking religiously to the back of the flooded field, but when one of the reserve wardens said that it flew to roost to the south last night, I thought I might be in with a chance. Despite the rain, torrential for a time, the Glossy Ibis continued to feed voraciously, continuing for over two hours until 1620. It then spent five minutes having a drink and preening before flying off strongly to the SSW at 1625. And yes, I failed in my quest to capture it on film - the heavy rain at the time just left me with a blur!