Saturday, 1 March 2014

PINK-FOOTS back and a flurry of migrant activity

A slight overnight frost followed by a gorgeous day - with light winds, largely blue skies and gradually increasing temperatures from 3.5 to 10 degrees C - spring-like at times
At COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT first thing, quite a few 'new' migrants, with a pair of OYSTERCATCHER, a pair of COMMON REDSHANK, 26 Lapwing and a pair of COMMON SHELDUCK; also 1 Great Crested Grebe, 101 Wigeon, 16 Shoveler, 18 Gadwall, 72 Tufted Duck and 5 Pochard, along with 24 Coot, 23 COMMON SNIPE and 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A singing male Reed Bunting too.

Common Redshank and Common Snipe roosting amongst the sedges

Over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR, I joined Steve Rodwell by the jetty. The PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was back, commuting between the field by the Farm Shop and the reservoir with 33 Greylag Geese, showing very well at times (see pix below). Otherwise, wildfowl numbers were dwindling, with less than 200 Wigeon remaining, 32 Gadwall, very few Teal, 52 Shoveler, 72 Pochard and 117 Tufted Duck; all four COMMON GOLDENEYE still present though. A lot of raptor activity with the blue skies and little wind, involving at least 4 Red Kites, 7 Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. Also noted were 4 Mute Swans, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Lapwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail and 2 Pied Wagtails, while on the Drayton Bank, 9 nests of Grey Heron and 17 of Sinensis Cormorant were occupied respectively.

Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a Corvid

On TRINGFORD RESERVOIR, just 1 pair of Red-crested Pochard remain, with 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swan, 8 Teal, 8 Mallard, 29 Tufted Duck, 6 Pochard and 32 Coot, while Grey Heron, Wren, Chaffinch, 12 Jackdaw, 4 Long-tailed Tit and Greenfinch were also logged.

The view across Tringford

Tufted Ducks in full regalia

Mallards too

A Grey Heron fishing

Long-tailed Tits

Not much to speak about on STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR other than another pair of Red-crested Pochards - 4 Great Crested Grebe, 20 Coot, 6 Moorhen, 2 first-summer Mute Swan, 65 Tufted Duck and Grey Heron noted - while MARSWORTH RESERVOIR was even more uneventful with just 5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan and 76 Black-headed Gulls of note.

Around WIGGINTON VILLAGE, a population census revealed the presence of 8 House Sparrows, 1 Greenfinch and 5 pairs of territorial Jackdaws, plus 2 Carrion Crow, 46 Woodpigeon, 2 Collared Dove, 4 Robin, 3 Blue Tits and a Chaffinch.

At HILFIELD PARK RESERVOIR, BLACK-NECKED GREBE numbers had increased to 10 individuals, the majority still in transitional plumage. Not much else there though, with 12 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Mute Swans, 53 Tufted Duck and 2 Common Goldeneye, as well as 3 Song Thrushes. There was a sizeable gull roost involving at least 800 Black-headed and 120 Common, as well as a few Herring and Lesser Black-backed.

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