SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER
Despite some hefty showers, most of today was fine and dry with some long spells of warm sunshine. The wind remained in the Southwest so visible migration was virtually at a standstill.....
I started off at WILSTONE RESERVOIR where David Bilcock had earlier seen a Scandinavian Rock Pipit but despite a thorough search by Steve Rodwell and I, there was no further sign of it. There was some sign of wader passage, with a 'new' juvenile RUFF on site and a flock of between 7 and 20 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER, while the 4 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS remained, 2 RINGED PLOVERS and the COMMON SANDPIPER; Lapwings numbered at least 316 but were coming and going to the fields all of the time.
Otherwise, I had an opportunity to do the counts, with 18 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 19 Sinensis Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, just 22 Mute Swan, the two adult WHOOPER SWANS (showing well in the sunshine, preening near the new overflow), 38 Canada Geese, a single first-year COMMON SHELDUCK, 85 Mallard, 175 Wigeon, 315 Teal, 15 Gadwall, 8 PINTAIL, 53 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 47 Pochard, 299 Coot, 5 Red Kite, Common Buzzard, 37 Black-headed Gull, Common Treecreeper, Yellowhammer, 6 Pied Wagtail and 3 Grey Wagtail. A male Common Blackbird was enjoying the sun.
Evidence of some movement came in the form of a flock of 15 Meadow Pipit on the East Bank and 2 Eurasian Skylarks over.
At TRINGFORD RESERVOIR, the most noticeable event was the tremendous increase in Robins - at least 13 being present. The woodland fringe also held 2 Dunnock, Chaffinch, 8 Goldcrest, 8 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Great Tit and a Common Chiffchaff, whilst on the water, counts included 5 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, the 8 Mute Swan, an impressive 47 Gadwall, 71 Teal, 28 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, 5 Red-crested Pochard, 163 Coot and 20 Moorhen.
Not much to add from STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR other than a migrant Jay, 15 Mute Swan, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Little Grebe, 131 Coot, 8 Gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 18 Pochard and 38 Tufted Duck, while MARSWORTH was largely birdless other than 2 Mute Swans, 12 Shoveler, 5 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Robin - 6 more Robin being noted by the SEWAGE FARM. Sadly, a dead Badger was lying on the road opposite the sewage works.
In the east of the county, a return visit to LEMSFORD SPRINGS NATURE RESERVE resulted in further excellent views of the JACK SNIPE from the main hide, 7 GREEN SANDPIPERS (all but one colour-ringed), WATER RAIL, 2 fabulous COMMON KINGFISHERS, 5+ Grey Wagtail, 3 Little Egret, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Bullfinch.
Not that far away, I was astounded to find 32+ CLOUDED YELLOW BUTTERFLIES by one of the gravel pits