Wednesday, 9 April 2014


A much brighter day than of late with a NW wind that veered SW as the day progressed. Initially pretty cold and windy but later temperatures recovered and the last couple of hours were quite pleasant.
After checking the CHESHAM VALE ROOKERY (now at 43 active nests), I moved on to WILSTONE RESERVOIR to do a thorough inventory. The House Sparrows were back by the farm shop (6 birds) with a male from there visiting the main car park; Common Starlings were nesting at the farm shop too.
Undoubted highlight was an adult white morph ROSS'S SNOW GOOSE in with a small party of 3 Greylag Geese. It appeared in front of the Drayton Bank Hide late morning before flying and landing in the cereal crop to the north of the overflow. This is the first-ever record of this species at Tring, it's origins of course presumably a wildfowl collection.

The full list was as follows -:
Great Crested Grebe (just 7 birds)
Sinensis Cormorant (colony thriving with one nest containing 4 well grown young)
Little Egret (1 - the pair nesting again)
Grey Heron (16 active nests)
Mute Swan (1 first-summer)
Greylag Geese (22)
Canada Geese (8)
Mallard (a female accompanying 6 ducklings)
Gadwall (11)
Shoveler (24)
Eurasian Wigeon (single drake remaining)
Common Teal (28)
Northern Pochard (1 drake)
Tufted Duck (71)
Common Buzzard (2)
Common Pheasant (male)
Coot (72)
OYSTERCATCHER (pair on the raft)
Common Gull (1 first-summer)
Herring Gull (2 first-years)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (pair)
Woodpigeon and Stock Dove
Common Kingfisher (showing well from the hide)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1 in the orchard)
Skylark (3 singing from cereal crops)
Sand Martin (at least 86)
HOUSE MARTIN (2 with the Sand Martins)
Barn Swallow (at least 12)
Pied Wagtail (3)
Wren (7 territories)
Dunnock (2 singing males)
Robin (6 territories)
Song Thrush (male singing by Rushy Meadow)
Common Blackbird (5)
BLACKCAPS (marked arrival with a singing male by the car park, a male in the Poplar Wood on the east bank, a male behind the jetty, a male in Cemetery Corner, a male in the main wood on the SE shore, 2 males in the orchard, 2 in Rushy Meadow, a male in the Hide Field and a singing male in trees behind the hide - 10 in all)
Common Chiffchaff (just 4 noted - East Bank Poplars, orchard and 2 behind hide)
Goldcrest (male singing by hide access track)
Great & Blue Tit; Magpie & Carrion Crow
Jackdaw (several pairs nesting in wood on south shore)
Chaffinch, Goldfinch
Linnet (male in fields near Dry Canal)
Yellowhammer (male by Dry Canal)
After being joined at Wilstone by Francis Buckle, we both drove over to the smaller reservoirs to have a look round. MARSWORTH WOOD produced the usual, with singing BLACKCAP and 2 male Chaffinch, while the reedbed yielded the exploding CETTI'S WARBLER and 2 male Reed Buntings (one of which was gathering food on the causeway). Little to be seen on the water other than 4 Great Crested Grebes, the Mute Swan pair (including '4ABK') and two adult Lesser Black-backs, with 15 BARN SWALLOWS and 30+ Sand Martin over the paddock fields and a singing male WILLOW WARBLER in the hedgerow on the far side of the canal.
A male WHITE WAGTAIL on the pontoons was the highlight on STARTOP'S END, with both COMMON TERNS still present, a pair of COMMON REDSHANK, another 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Common Buzzard being mobbed by the nesting Carrion Crows and 13 first-year Black-headed Gulls.

The Rugby Club Rookery east of ASTON CLINTON held 13 active nests and the WORLD'S END one 11, while at WESTON TURVILLE RESERVOIR, a male FIRECREST has returned to the coniferous trees adjacent to the barn (showing well occasionally but hard to find in the foliage). Little else of note there though other than 2 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Coot, Stock Dove (cooing male), Green Woodpecker (2), Song Thrush and Goldfinch.

A selection of today's piccies.......

Great Crested Grebes displaying

Western Jackdaws at the nest hole

Mute Swan '4ABK'

and a male Reed Bunting gathering food on the causeway at Marsworth

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