A Whole Lotta Thrushes...
FRIDAY 5 DECEMBER
Following a gloomy start, Friday eventually brightened up with a ridge of high pressure bringing clear skies, light winds and some winter sunshine; it was cold throughout with temperatures struggling beyond 6 degrees C.
Being a new month, I travelled over to TRING RESERVOIRS to do my monthly wildfowl counts and inventories, and although the water is rapidly rising now on Wilstone resulting in the departure of most of the waders, COOT numbers reached 835 and GREAT CRESTED GREBE 63 - most respectable counts. Worrying though was the presence of just 4 Mute Swans on Wilstone....
WILSTONE RESERVOIR held 34 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 68 Sinensis Cormorant, 4 Grey Heron, just 4 Mute Swans, 97 Greylag Geese, 1 Atlantic Canada Goose, 39 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 258 Wigeon, just 210 Common Teal (massive decrease), 83 Northern Pochard, 71 Tufted Duck, 45 Shoveler, 506 Coot and 15 Moorhen, with the BLACK-TAILED GODWIT still present in front of the hide and just 81 Lapwing.
A Grey Wagtail was feeding along the bankline with 3 Pied Wagtails, while making the most of the hawthorns that border the banks were at least 16 Common Blackbird, 80+ Fieldfare and 30+ Redwing. A flock of 27 Eurasian Skylarks flew east.
Over at MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, the highlight was a drake Gadwall - a scarce species here, with 50 Shoveler, 10 Moorhen and 2 Great Crested Grebe noted. STARTOP'S END was relatively quiet, adding a single Mute Swan, 24 Mallard, 2 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 113 Tufted Duck, 6 Pochard, 26 Great Crested Grebe, Common Gull, 8 Moorhen and another 173 Coot. The 4 Little Egrets were still present, as was a Grey Wagtail.
A further 156 Coot counted on TRINGFORD RESERVOIR forwarded the total to 835 individuals - pretty impressive. Otherwise, all 8 Mute Swans (one family), 1 Great Crested Grebe, 15 Sinensis (now taking to roosting in the trees on the south shore), 20 Mallard, 8 Gadwall, 5 Red-crested Pochard, 8 Pochard, 71 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe and the 4 Little Egrets; Common Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush and 2 Redwing too.
At neighbouring COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT, 27 Mute Swans on the marsh (with an additional bird on the Quarry Pit), 150 Wigeon, just 1 Common Teal, 36 Gadwall, 80 Tufted Duck, the female Red-crested Pochard, 6 Pochard, 44 Lapwing, 11 Common Snipe, 5 Little Grebe (2 on the marsh and 3 on the QP) and 41 Coot (40 on the QP). A Goldcrest by the car park was my first at the site this year, with the feeding station yielding 10+ Chaffinch, Greenfinch and at least 8 Blue Tits.
Towards dusk, I visited PENN WOOD SSI, where the Penna Rhododendron roost hosted 53 Chaffinch and 15 BRAMBLING; 85 Redwing roosted in Holly trees too, with 6 Goldcrest noted and a TAWNY OWL hooting. Just 8 Red Kite came into the BROOK WOOD roost, with PENN VILLAGE POOL harbouring 66 Mallard and 9 Moorhen.