Wednesday, 31 December 2014

No Great Grey Shrike today but 85 Great Crested Grebe in cold-weather movement

The last three days have seen heavy overnight frosts, with temperatures dropping down to as low as minus 8 degrees. As a result, many of the local waters have largely frozen over, certainly in part...
Yesterday afternoon, David Bilcock photographed a GREAT GREY SHRIKE in bushes adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, half way between Slapton and Grove Locks, near Whaddon Farm. There was no sign of it today unfortunately.
DB also had a flock of 5 GOOSANDERS on Marsworth Reservoir first thing this morning - all 5 spooking readily and quickly moving to Wilstone, before flying off south.
I did a full inventory later in the morning, the freezing conditions seeing a marked arrival of wildfowl, as well as an exceptional 85 Great Crested Grebes.....
On WILSTONE, 54 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Egret, 71 Sinensis Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 8 Grey Heron, 3 Mute Swan, just 1 Canada Goose, 36 Gadwall, 140 Shoveler (a year high), 340 Common Teal, 320 Wigeon, 170 Pochard, 377 Coot and 3 Common Goldeneye
At STARTOP'S END, 1 Mute Swan (4BED), 21 Canada Geese, 26 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 31 Pochard, 3 Shoveler and 198 Coot, with a few Redwing and Fieldfares feeding on the berries on the north bank and 12 House Sparrows in conifers by the Angler's Retreat and an additional 8 by the Wood Carving Studio.
Very little on MARSWORTH, other than the drake Gadwall, 5 Mute Swans (including pair 4ABK and 4ABL), 1 Pochard, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 2 Teal, Water Rail and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
A flock of 83 Woodpigeon was roosting in trees at the back of TRING SEWAGE WORKS, with TRINGFORD adding 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 9 Grey Heron, the family party of 8 Mute Swans, 24 Teal, 18 Tufted Duck, 10 Pochard, 180 Coot, 84 Black-headed Gull, an adult Common Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, Goldfinch and several Common Blackbirds.

At least 124 Common Teal remained in PITSTONE QUARRY, but little else of note in there, while SHARDELOES LAKE was 90% frozen - 59 Coot, 8 Little Grebe, 19 Common Gull and Green Woodpecker being the highlights.

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