Monday, 30 March 2015

A singing NUTHATCH and a pair of MANDARIN DUCKS but little in the way of incoming migrants

Another miserable day and although it is officially Spring, it certainly didn't feel like it. The wind was in the Northwest and it was cold, dank & dreary.
At WILSTONE RESERVOIR, three events stood out; a pair of MANDARIN DUCKS was present along the west bank, a male NUTHATCH was singing from trees behind the hide and a noticeable passage took place of FIELDFARES & COMMON STARLINGS.

Wildfowl numbers were now much depleted with just 35 Shoveler remaining, 7 Wigeon, 8 Teal and around 80 Tufted Ducks, with just 3 of the 4 EGYPTIAN GEESE in fields on the east side; otherwise just 1 Mute Swan, 41 Greylag Geese and 12 Great Crested Grebes.

The number of Grey Heron nests occupied on the Drayton Bank has now risen to at least 8, with an adult Little Egret often joining them. A COMMON SNIPE was seen in flight, the pair of OYSTERCATCHERS, Green Woodpecker, 2 Meadow Pipits and a pair of Bullfinch.
The only migrants to be found were 15 SAND MARTIN, 4 Pied Wagtails and just 3 singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS - one behind the hide, one in the orchard and one in the East Wood.

Over at TRINGFORD RESERVOIR. all 8 Mute Swans still (with the cob doing his best to remove his young sons), 7 Teal, a drake Gadwall, 16 Tufted Duck, a single Little Egret, Grey Wagtail and Greenfinch. Just 1 singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was heard, with the woodland also yielding 2 Mistle Thrush, a pair of Long-tailed Tit and 18 Rook, the latter now occupying 9 nests in a new colony. Two Collared Doves were unusual here.

With the fishermen busy placing out new netting on STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, all of the wildfowl had flown, including the long-staying first-winter female Greater Scaup. The 2 Little Grebes remained, with COMMON REDSHANK numbering 3, 14 Black-headed Gulls and a passing Common Kestrel. The Grey Wagtail pair were busy gathering nest material, an odd-looking Meadow Pipit was on the bank and the Carrion Crow pair were nesting as usual in the car park.

The female Red-crested Pochard remained on the Grand Union Canal adjacent to MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, where Great Crested Grebe numbers recently peaked at 24, displaced Tufted Duck numbered 46 and the lone Barnacle Goose was with 34 Atlantic Canadas in the horse paddocks. The male CETTI'S WARBLER was in song by the overflow.

A selection of further images from recent days at the reservoirs........

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