Monday, 8 December 2014

First-ever RED-CRESTED POCHARD for Pitstone Quarry and record number of COMMON TEAL there; surprise BRAMBLING on Marsworth

A light frost overnight followed by a glorious winter's day - clear blue sky, light winds but cold
At BURY LAKE (RICKMANSWORTH AERODROME), 17 Mute Swans included '396' - an adult I hadn't read the ring of last week; WATER RAIL, 86 Coot, 66 Tufted Duck and a juvenile Herring Gull.
From the bridge crossing the River Colne on my walk down to STOCKER'S LAKE, a COMMON KINGFISHER was showing exceptionally well - allowing me to rattle off about 15 shots before it flew.
Highlights on the lake included 7 COMMON GOLDENEYE (including 2 adult drakes), 239 Tufted Duck, 38 Gadwall, 9 Pochard, 330 Coot, 45 Lapwing, Jay, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, male Common Kestrel, 5 Ring-necked Parakeet and a continuing Australian Black Swan, while just 9 Shoveler were noted - and 12 Mute Swan.
Ten House Sparrows were in residence at STOCKERS HOUSE, the feeders on the bridge attracting both Great and Blue Tits. The STOCKER'S FARM WATER MEADOW held 92 Canada Geese, the resident LITTLE OWL, a pair of COMMON STONECHATS, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Meadow Pipits, Common Gull, several Redwing and a pair of Long-tailed Tit.
A survey of local MONK PARAKEETS yielded 18 individuals in one colonial conifer tree
No sign of Dan Forder's Siberian Chiffchaff at KINGS LANGLEY FISHING LAKES, 4 Mute Swans, 2 Pochard, 2 Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest and 2 Long-tailed Tits being the most notable species seen.
The ALDBURY VILLAGE population of House Sparrows is seemingly holding up with 16 individuals counted, PITSTONE HILL nearby being littered with Redwing, Fieldfare and Common Blackbird in the roadside hedgerow.
At PITSTONE QUARRY, where I haven't visited since September, an impressive number of waterfowl present including 45 Mallard, a female Red-crested Pochard (first site record), a whopping 216 Common Teal (a record number), 11 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, 13 Coot, 2 Little Grebe, 3 first-year Mute Swans, 1 Lapwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 5 Redwing

A similarly large number of feeding Fieldfare and Redwing were noted on PITSTONE COMMON, with 90 and 230 respectively.

Little of any movement at TRING RESERVOIRS, just 2 Red-crested Pochards remaining on TRINGFORD but Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Redwing and 62 Shoveler on MARSWORTH, along with 70 CORN BUNTINGS at roost. Most noteworthy was a single BRAMBLING - flying in with 2 Corn Buntings at dusk but instead of flighting in to the reedbed flew by itself to the neighbouring trees.

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