Monday 22 December
My first visit to TRING RESERVOIRS this week has seen the water levels on WILSTONE rise even further - just two islands now remaining near the Drayton Bank and a little bit of the spit.
In terms of waterbirds, not much change in numbers and if anything, a decrease - particularly in Mute Swan which now number nil. 31 Great Crested Grebe, 72 Sinensis Cormorant, 8 Grey Heron, 95 Greylag Geese, 6 Canada Geese, 72 Mallard, 278 Wigeon, 330 Common Teal, 66 Shoveler, 97 Tufted Duck, 44 Pochard and 375 Coot were all counted, whilst the wader flock held 577 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER and 802 Lapwing and the gull flock 5 Common, 2 Lesser Black-back and a juvenile argenteus Herring Gull. Very little else of note other than a Sparrowhawk, Common Kingfisher and 4 Fieldfare.
Over at TRINGFORD RESERVOIR, all 8 Mute Swans were surviving, with 2 Great Crested Grebe, both carbo and Sinensis Cormorants roosting, 216 Coot, 22 Teal, 1 Pochard and 9 Red-crested Pochard (5 drakes) also noted. A flock of 12 Stock Dove were by the woodland hide, with 8 Grey Heron roosting and a Common Kestrel hunting over farmland.
At STARTOP'S END, the 4 Little Egrets were still present, with 118 Canada Geese, 2 Wigeon, 29 Teal, 12 Pochard, 6 Mute Swan, 26 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe and 190 Coot all counted.
The BITTERN flew to roost on MARSWORTH at 1537 hours but with such blustery weather, not a single Corn Bunting was recorded - just 4 Reed Buntings. Once again, the Common Starling roost was impressive, with 1,200 flighting in, one of them falling prey to one of two Sparrowhawks hunting. A group of 8 Pochard was noteworthy, with just 4 Shoveler counted; a Grey Wagtail was seen, Green Woodpecker, a Linnet flew over as did an adult Common Gull.
Juvenile Herring Gull
...and top birder Dave Suddaby in action on Marsworth, he of the Mullet fame (County Mayo) where his garden has played host to Cedar Waxwing, Blackpoll Warbler and Red-flanked Bluetail in the past 12 years! Dave is in the area for two weeks, staying with his wife's parents in Aylesbury for Christmas