Friday, 30 September 2016

Three GARGANEY now

Spurned on by Mike Wallen's migrating flock of 16 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS over the Beacon and his impressive count of Meadow Pipits, I ventured down much later in the morning and tried my luck on any remaining VizMig passage. As it was, it had all fizzled out, just 9 Meadow Pipit for my efforts, but most noteworthy was a nice migrant adult HOBBY that was lingering over the Sheep Pen fields and repeatedly returning to the fenceposts to rest (see images on my Ivinghoe Beacon blog). Little in the bushes other than a single Blackcap and 3 Common Chiffchaffs. Again, no hirundine passage

At WILSTONE RESERVOIR, no change from yesterday - 9 PINTAILS, 132 Wigeon, 106 Shoveler, 343 Teal, 101 Tufted Duck, 185 Northern Pochard, the 2 GARGANEY (although Ian Williams & Jeff Bailey had 3), 18 Gadwall, 10 Little Egret, the COMMON SANDPIPER and 5 Grey Wagtails

Thursday, 29 September 2016


WILSTONE RESERVOIR - 29 September - Afternoon visit
Not much to write home about, although both GARGANEY were putting on a good show from the Drayton Bank Hide. Wildfowl numbers rising on a daily basis with 103 Shoveler today, 146 Eurasian Wigeon, 33 Gadwall, 330+ Common Teal, 201 Tufted Duck and an impressive 184+ Northern Pochard.

No sign of any Pintail today but still a lingering COMMON SANDPIPER, 97 Lapwing, 16 Little Egret, a Little Grebe, 3 Grey Wagtails and 33 Mute Swans

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A new DUNLIN and a major increase in WILDFOWL

Flogging a dead horse!
With light northeasterlies and grey skies, it felt promising for IVINGHOE HILLS but in the event, a VizMig vigil from 0900 to midday produced just a single Eurasian Barn Swallow migrating east! I was flogging a dead horse in the bushes too with just a single Common Chiffchaff in the scrub at the far east end of Gallows Hill and a male Blackcap singing in Top Scrub. A single Red Kite, 17 Goldfinch and 16 Meadow Pipits completed the list, while just below the car park, 4 Robins were vying for territory space.
Over at WILSTONE RESERVOIR, the biggest change has been in the wildfowl numbers - a huge increase. For example, PINTAIL numbered 16 (although I hear Steve Rodwell had 27 at the weekend), while Gadwall numbered 18, Common Teal 312, Mallard 216, Eurasian Wigeon 208, Tufted Duck 301 and Northern Pochard an outstanding 192. The GARGANEY was still present, while waders were represented by 181 Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and a new migrant juvenile DUNLIN (Roy had also seen 2 Ringed Plover briefly earlier). Little in the passerine line other than 2 Goldcrest, 3 Grey Wagtail and a large tit flock comprising of at least 8 Blue Tits

Friday, 16 September 2016

This weeks highlights: yet another GREAT WHITE EGRET!

12-16 September 2016

The undoubted highlight this week was the presence of a GREAT WHITE EGRET at Wilstone Reservoir early Thursday morning - 15 September. The bird was typically found by David Bilcock & Roy Hargreaves as they both did their dawn chorus check. Initially seen from the car park steps but feeding by the Drayton Hide, the bird remained in view for about two hours before disappearing around the back at about 0900 hours. Frustratingly, shortly after it was found, thick fog rolled in, making viewing it nigh on impossible.

Otherwise, the single GARGANEY remained all week, with a major build-up of waterfowl as the week went on, with Eurasian Wigeon numbering 60 by Friday, Shoveler up to 58, Mallard at 233 and Common Teal approaching 300. Two NORTHERN PINTAIL are now present.

An OSPREY was seen well at Wilstone on Wednesday (14 September), the same day Jeff Bailey had 2 SANDWICH TERN fly through mid-afternoon. Ian Williams watched a single WHIMBREL pass through at 6pm on Friday (16th), although the only other waders were up to 3 Common Sandpipers.

Although favourable conditions for migrating raptors, particularly Honey Buzzards earlier in the week, it was only passage juvenile Common Buzzards I recorded at Ivinghoe Hills Nature Reserve, while passerines included a party of 9 WHINCHATS at the sheep-pens, at least 5 continuing COMMON REDSTARTS and a migrant GRASSHOPPER WARBLER on 13th. Pitstone Hill also had 1-3 WHINCHAT, with College Lake BBOWT attracting one.

Water levels still dropping on Wilstone

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Weekend Highlights

Dave Bilcock came up with a GARGANEY on Saturday, which was still present today, as well as a PINTAIL - the first so far this autumn. Francis Buckle and others recorded COMMON REDSTART and several migrant Lesser Whitethroats & Spotted Flycatchers in the hedgerow opposite the outflow

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A little passage this week

During his pre-work checks early morning, Dave Bilcock had 2 SANDWICH TERNS through Wilstone and a RED KNOT briefly this week. None was present for longer than a minute! Otherwise, very quiet - just the odd migrant Spotted Flycatcher. Ian Williams had a single flyover OSPREY last week, the only one of the autumn so far