Friday, 28 October 2016


Dave Bilcock discovered a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK at WILSTONE RESERVOIR on Tuesday (25th) which was still present today Thursday 27th October (see Dave's shots below). It is frequenting the Drayton Bank, keeping close to the shallow water at the edge and diving, best observed from the car park steps. The fact that it has a bright, pearly-white eye suggests that it is an adult drake. It also represents our first record here since 2002! It puts Ian Williams on an impressive 150 for the year - once again the leading lister within the Tring Reservoirs' boundary.

Overall, there has been a massive arrival of wildfowl at Tring, with some impressive numbers present. For example, click-counting revealed the presence of no fewer than 170 Mallard, 33 Gadwall, 522 Teal, 680 Wigeon, 98 Shoveler, 278 Tufted Duck and a staggering 215 Northern Pochard, while Red-crested Pochard numbers have climbed to 7. Add to that the 26 Mute Swan, 47 Greylag Geese, 5 Little Grebe, 6 Little Egret, 4 PINTAIL, 3 Common Snipe & 2 JACK SNIPE, then plenty to wade through! More and more EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER have been arriving daily, so much so that the flock on the mud has now reached 179 in number, while a single DUNLIN joined them today. Eurasian Skylark have been passing over in small numbers, with up to 4 Grey Wagtails on site. The Common Kingfisher remains.

The drake RING-NECKED DUCK has been commuting back & forth to STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, where also the drake GREATER SCAUP remains. The 17 Great Crested Grebe on there represents the highest count so far this winter

Friday, 21 October 2016


I had just arrived at the Beacon this morning than no sooner I get a text informing me of 5 WHOOPER SWANS on WILSTONE. Rushed immediately down but arrived at the car park just in time to miss them - the four adults and one juvenile flying off SE at 0920! Their arrival followed that of 9 last night at Foxcote Reservoir, Buckingham, as well as a widespread arrival elsewhere. Had a good look around whilst I was there but no sign of the Ring-necked Duck (it had apparently relocated to Startop's) and just 125 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the mud by the hide, 96 Shoveler, a mammoth 533 Teal, the Common Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtail and 4 Little Grebe.

I then returned to IVINGHOE BEACON and did a VizMig Watch from 1015 through to 1300 hours. A nice and varied passage followed -:
11 Goldcrest (noticeable arrival)
113 Fieldfare
69 Redwing
143 Common Starling
36 Chaffinch
1 Yellowhammer
36 Skylark
Stock Dove
11 Woodpigeon (the first evidence of any movement this autumn)

2 Bullfinch

Thursday, 20 October 2016

RING-NECKED DUCK afforded fabulous views today....

20 OCTOBER 2016
Flitted over to WILSTONE RESERVOIR first thing, after Roy Hargreaves had discovered a drake RING-NECKED DUCK yesterday morning - presumably the same bird Ian Williams had found last autumn and remained throughout October 2015. A small crowd had gathered on the jetty, including Francis Buckle, Tony Hukin & Lucy Flower, the duck performing impeccably not that far out. It was diving non-stop and resurfacing with weed, allowing me to obtain a large series of images during the hour or so I observed it (see below). Wildfowl numbers were still fairly high, especially of Teal, Tufted Duck & Pochard, while 4 RED-CRESTED POCHARD were by the Drayton Hide (two pairs) and the two remaining PINTAIL. A flock of 86 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER landed briefly on the mud, while 3 of the JACK SNIPE were seen, including one that was forced out by the 2 Water Rails patrolling the reed edge right out into the open (see also below). Otherwise, much the same as usual - 8 Little Egrets, the 'tame' Common Kingfisher fishing from the bank, several Red Kites and 2 migrant SISKINS.


It was migrating FIELDFARES however that really made my day - masses of them. At IVINGHOE BEACON, I counted no less than 2,628 in 5 hours - streaming north in single flocks of up to 274 birds! And streaming NORTH - that was a surprise, particularly as that was the wind direction in which they were flying into. Migration is such a magnificent thing - so wonderful and always full of surprises! Just 198 REDWING were associated with the movement and a handful of Chaffinches, as well as 21 Yellowhammers, my largest passage of the autumn. A pair of MARSH TITS showed well in Top Scrub, as well as 4+ Jays and Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers - 2 Bullfinch too.