Thursday, 25 August 2016

Overnight rain and a nice little fall at Pitstone Hill

25 AUGUST 2016
Overnight saw quite a bit of rain so I was out bright and early birding the hills. The rain had stopped and the skies were now clear but the wind was still in the east....
PITSTONE HILL looked promising and after working my way through the 60 Goldfinch, 14 Yellowhammer, 9 Meadow Pipit and 8 CORN BUNTING not far along from the gate, was very pleased to see a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE on the first hill, with a further male calling from the field below with the manure heap in it - my first in Buckinghamshire this year! Two migrant NORTHERN WHEATEAR were also in this  same area and as I followed the perimeter fence around, a further single was noted and 3 WHINCHATS. Two migrant juvenile Common Whitethroats were also seen, while in the scrub in the gully area, at least two COMMON REDSTARTS and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER were noted - not a bad fall in all.

Over at TRING RESERVOIRS, Dave Bilcock's juvenile ARCTIC TERN had relocated to MARSWORTH, traversing both the Bucks and Herts section of the reservoir, while other noteworthy birds included an adult Common Tern, 1-2 Grey Wagtail, Common Kingfisher, 62 Coot, 2 HOBBIES and best of all, a migrant COAL TIT in the wood - my first in the Recording Area this year. I see Mute Swan 4ABL has a family, standing with her 4 cygnets on the bank at STARTOP'S. The only Tufted Duck family I noted was of 5 ducklings on TRINGFORD. There was no sign of the Ruff that Ian Williams had at WILSTONE last night, nor of what was presumably the same long-staying bird at College, although 11 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Little Egret, 44 Mute Swan, 130 Greylag Geese, Barnacle Goose, 70 Teal (a notable increase), 18 Shoveler, 100+ Lapwing and a single GREEN SANDPIPER were noted.

COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT was very quiet, with just the adult Ringed Plover, juvenile Common Redshank and solitart Common Snipe remaining, 12 Teal, 170 Black-headed Gull and 6 migrant European Barn Swallows through

Friday, 19 August 2016

Well the rain arrived but very little else: LRP at College was the best of it!!

Friday 19 August
Well after weeks of dry and generally hot weather, the rain finally arrived today - and kept on virtually until early evening. WILSTONE RESERVOIR proved very quiet, with just 3 adult Common Terns of interest and 3 Green Sandpipers feeding on the mud on the hide side of the reservoir. I could only locate one of yesterday's 3 Common Sandpipers and otherwise, it was just wildfowl numbers that had risen, with 44 Mute Swans, 105 Mallard, 70 Common Teal, 8 Shoveler, 440 Coot, 30 Lapwing and 7 Little Egrets.

Neighbouring COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT yielded a single new wader in the form of a juvenile LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, while the mud visible from Octagon Hide produced juvenile RUFF (now present for its 10th day), the juvenile Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper and 13 Common Teal. Otherwise, pretty quiet; female Tufted Duck with just 6 surviving ducklings now, just 14 Lapwing, single Common Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Bullfinch and a charm of 41 Goldfinch.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Poor visibility produces Tree Pipits, House Martins & Redstart on Hills whilst College Lake Ruff enters its 9th day

Thursday 18 August
SE wind; misty with poor visibility to the Northeast
A major fall of HOUSE MARTIN with a flock lingering in the Beacon area all morning, peaking at 62 individuals. Also 2 TREE PIPITS over to the southwest, just a single NORTHERN WHEATEAR lingering on the fenceline down to the sheep-pens and a 'new' COMMON REDSTART in the scrub below the car park, calling loudly. A single COMMON WHITETHROAT present for its third day by the two stiles at the bottom of the car park slope and 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS on the north side of Gallows Hill but otherwise regular fare, although a single Marsh Tit and Nuthatch were unexpected. Just singles of Yellowhammer, Bullfinch and Linnet noted, with 37 Jackdaw west, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 9 Common Starlings.
Very quiet at neighbouring PITSTONE HILL, with COMMON RAVEN, a juvenile CORN BUNTING, & Yellowhammers, a single Barn Swallow and 15 Common Starling highlighting. The family flock of 5 Meadow Pipit remain. Still lots of butterfly activity, primarily Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Common Blue.
Over at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT, the juvenile RUFF remains for an incredible 9th day, feeding on the main marsh and best observed from the Octagon Hide. Also, the juvenile COMMON REDSHANK and COMMON SANDPIPER remain, with Common Teal now up to 9, 16 Coot, just 32 Lapwing and 2 Little Grebe. Sadly, the Tufted Duck brood is now down from 9 to 5.

At WILSTONE RESERVOIR, the water levels are beginning to drop for the first time this year, consequently attracting 3 return passage COMMON SANDPIPERS. A single Barnacle Goose remains with the Canadas on Drayton Bank, while waterfowl numbers in general are up, with the return of 22 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 27 Northern Pochard and 99 Tufted Duck. The moulting flock of Mute Swan numbers at least 37, while 11 Great Crested Grebe, 8 House Sparrows, Linnet and this nice Grey Wagtail were also encountered. Little Egrets successfully bred on the Drayton bank with 6 pairs, with 3 still around today.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Yesterday's RUFF at College Lake BBOWT

On Thursday 11 August, a juvenile RUFF spent the day on the marsh at College Lake, performing best from Octagon Hide, favouring the muddy islands on the far side. A Common Sandpiper also remained, as well as 3 Common Snipes. Two Yellow-legged Gulls dropped in for a brief period and 2 Lesser Whitethroats were in the bushes.

Lots of butterflies on the wing including Gatekeepers and Common Blues