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.