TUESDAY 24 FEBRUARY
More evidence of continuing spring passage today when my CHAFFINCH HOUSE garden feeders in LITTLE CHALFONT were visited by a SISKIN and a male LESSER REDPOLL, the 4th of the latter to be seen in recent days. Goldfinch numbers were high too at 16, while the female BLACKCAP remained.
At BOIS MILL POND, 2 Little Egrets were about
Following a call from Dave Bilcock, I made my way to TRING RESERVOIRS, where in the horse paddock fields in MARSWORTH, a Barnacle Goose was present with 47 Atlantic Canada Geese. I am assuming that this is the same individual that visited the reservoirs last year - staying for just three days. The reservoir itself held 10 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 4 Coot and an impressive 96 Shoveler, with a Red Kite overhead.
Coot numbers continue to deplete, with very small numbers left at the three smaller reservoirs, whilst the WINGRAVE ROAD CEREAL FIELDS reaped nothing more than 450 Woodpigeons with again no sign of the 4 Grey Partridges.
Over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR, Mike Campbell & I were very pleased to connect with the EGYPTIAN GOOSE pair hiding in thick vegetation on the Drayton Bank. Despite the strong and quite freezing NW wind, the number of dabbling ducks that had arrived overnight was impressive, with 184 Shoveler being counted as well as 240 Wigeon. PINTAIL numbers had now increased to 8 (5 drakes).
I did another fruitless drive around ASTON CLINTON searching for Golden Plovers - HALTON AIRFIELD drawing a blank too. In HALTON itself, opposite TREE TOPS LAKE, 2 Little Egret were showing well in an open field - the lake itself harbouring 18 Mallard, 2 Coot & a pair of Canada Geese.
Along the WENDOVER ARM of the canal at THE WIDES, two more Little Egret were in attendance, with 8 Moorhen, 6 Coot, 18 Mallard and a pair of Mute Swan, the cob bearing the ring '4APA'. All 12 MANDARIN DUCKS were counted, 7 of them male.
Not too much to add from neighbouring WESTON TURVILLE RESERVOIR, although 3 Mute Swan (2 adults and a first-year), 6 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Pochard were new since my last visit; a Jay too.
A pair of Mistle Thrush were encountered in HUGHENDEN PARK, while at SPADE OAK GP, LITTLE MARLOW, the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was showing well along the west shore, flycatching in the sunshine. At least 4 collybitta Common Chiffchaff were also in the area, as well as a Goldcrest. Otherwise, not much else - the Australian Black Swan pair, 1 Common Shelduck, 4 Egyptian Geese and a showy Common Treecreeper. Adam's 2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull from earlier had flown off.
A Little Egret was an unusual visitor to DENHAM COURT LAKE, while at TROY MILL PIT (WEST HYDE), an impressive 448 Coot were click-counted. Additionally, Little Egret, 8 Mute Swan, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 68 Tufted Duck, 15 Pochard, 2 female Goldeneye and Common Kingfisher were noted, as well as 30 or so Ring-necked Parakeets in the area, largely attracted to Simon Buckingham's canalside pad. Mute Swan '843' was on the canal here too.
At the rear of BROADWATER SAILING CLUB and in vegetation overhanging the RIVER COLNE, the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF I first found in November 2014 was still showing, as well as 6 Common Chiffchaff. A pair of Egyptian Geese were at Lynster's Farm.