March 2015

  

WE NEED YOUR WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS PLEASE 
Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome.

2015 Membership Subscriptions are now due! Click on Join or Renew above.

AGM - The FoTR AGM
will be held on the 17th April at Wilstone Village Hall. 
Our guest speaker, wildlife photographer Chris Ward will give us an illustrated talk on wildlife in and around our wetlands. Refreshments will be served and there is no charge. Click Here for more. 

Tuesday 31st March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning David Bilcock drove past me and offered me a lift down to Wilstone. We arrived there and three Oystercatchers were on the bank, eight Sand Martins flew through and we heard then saw two Egyptian Geese fly from the reservoir into their favourite field. Not exactly the seabird bonanza we were hoping for – a Sandwich Tern would have been nice. Anyway as we stood there we noticed a Barn Owl flying along the bank towards us, struggling in the wind but making good if erratic progress. It flew within four metres of us and was well worth being windswept. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a photograph but what a view. Soon after David left for work and I walked home and the only other notable sighting was the female Greater Scaup has relocated back to Wilstone and was with Tufted and Pochard in the lee of the Poplars between the hide and the overflow doing its usual mix of feeding interspersed with roosting. Apparently the barley bales were being removed yesterday at Startops by the Canal & River Trust so no doubt that has caused the relocation.

Monday 30th March 2015.
Ian Williams - Other than the usual bits and pieces I heard a blackcap singing in the Cemetery Corner wood and up to 4 sand martin braved the wind. The 4 Egyptian Geese were in the field behind the jetty and the 2 oystercatchers in the next field along until spooked by a sparrowhawk. As I climbed the bank back to the jetty I found both oystercatchers within about 15m of me and could not resist the chance of a few photos. Then my attention was taken by a couple of the crows attacking a buzzard. All in all a good 5 minutes which made up for an otherwise dreary morning.
Crow and Buzzard by Ian Williams

Crow and Buzzard by Ian Williams

Sparrowhawk by Ian Williams

Walk Like an Egyptian by Ian Williams

Who are you looking at by Ian Williams

Oystercatcher by Ian Williams

Roy Hargreaves -  The weather can only be described as variable at the moment. Walking through Miswell Farm I heard then saw two Red-legged Partridges. Along the Dry Canal a Reeves’s Muntjac was stood in the enclosed area and was fairly tolerant in the gloom, but eventually went to cover. The two Oystercatchers were on the bank and the four Egyptian Geese were in the field with the footpath to the farm shop running through it. I also saw a Chinese Water Deer in a field on the other side of the road. My highlight was as I left the hide as I heard then saw a male Nuthatch as it sang and called. I managed a few ropey photos of this former reservoirs rarity. They are theoretically now resident around and close to the reservoirs but are still difficult to catch up with and luck is required.

Saturday 28th March 2015.
Chaz Jackson - Attached are a few photos of one of the Barnacle Geese at Marsworth and the Egyptian Geese at Wilstone. 
Egyptian Geese by Charles Jackson



Barnacle Goose by Charles Jackson



Canada Geese by Charles Jackson



Egyptian Geese by Charles Jackson



Egyptian Geese by Charles Jackson



Egyptian Geese by Charles Jackson


Friday 27th March 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - Only had a little time this evening starting at Tringford where the sunshine had bought out many butterflies with good numbers of Brimstone appearing. On the res were a quite a few Little Grebe, loads of Swans but unusually only a few Cormorant. One of the Cormorant seemed to have no fear and posed nicely for a photo or two, usually they flee as soon as you get near. In a tree in the corner a pair of Kingfisher were chatting to each other. It also seems to be the beginning of the shouting season for Wren and Robins as it seemed every other tree had one at the top singing their hearts out.

Marsworth also had 1 female and 2 male Kingfishers in the corner as well as Chiffchaff. When a plane flew over the flock of Geese that were feeding in the fields briefly relocated to the reservoir including 2 Barnacle and 2 Egyptian Geese. Unfortunately, the right side of the area down there seems to have become the local latrine with an unpleasant smell and used wet wipes everywhere. To the left was fine, hopefully that will not get the same treatment. The fallen tree was covered in bees of a few species so out came the macro gear for a few shots. I counted 7 different species of Bee this evening on my brief walk. From Roy's report yesterday I had wondered where the Mackerel had come from that the gulls were feeding on, that was until I notice at least 3 fishermen using them as bait.

Along the navigable stretch of the Wendover arm another pair of Kingfishers were feeding, they seem to be everywhere this year. I also disturbed a Heron that was sat on the towpath and a Kestrel sat on the pumping station fence. Along the fence around the allotment were a couple of Stonechat and a couple of Mistle Thrush as well as good numbers of Fieldfare in the tall trees behind. There were also loads of Linnet and Yellowhammer in the hedgerow.
Cormorant by Phill Luckhurst

Mute Swan by Phill Luckhurst

Bee by Phill Luckhurst

Bee by Phill Luckhurst


Thursday 26th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - With this morning being a little damp I decided on an afternoon visit. Starting at the smaller reservoirs I saw two Barnacle Geese in the paddocks on the other side of the canal from the reservoirs with good numbers of Canada and Greylag Geese. I think two birds may have been around for a little while but it was good to be able to confirm this. One of the Barnacle Geese seems to be paired with a Greylag so watch out for some weird looking goslings later this year. The female Greater Scaup was actually active for a change on Startops. As I was returning to my car there was a Barn Owl hunting over the meadow between Marsworth and the Sewage Farm.

Wilstone had four Egyptian Geese in the field beyond the field with the farmshop footpath through it. I saw three on Saturday and since then I’ve seen the four on every visit to Wilstone Res. They can be quite mobile and I have seen them in six different fields. The two Oystercatchers are still about and six Sand Martins came in while I was there. Also good news is that the barley bales have been replaced and two Lesser black-backed Gulls were eating a fish (a Mackerel I think) on one of them.

I have also found that the Reeves’s Muntjacs and Chinese Water Deer have been quite active recently and one morning they were playing peek-a-boo in the field between the Dry Canal and the Orchard.
Barnacle Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Egyptian goose by Roy Hargreaves

Chinese Water Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Lesser Black-backed Gulls by Roy Hargreaves


Wednesday 25th March 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - An early start at Marsworth for me to hopefully get a decent shot of the dancing Great Crested Grebes. In the poor light I failed that mission but it was fun watching Swans protecting their little areas of the res. There seem to be loads of ChiffChaff and a few Willow Warblers around the last few days and I had numerous visits while watching the Kingfishers and the Mink in the corner. Quite a few Reed Bunting around today too, spring finally seems to be arriving.

Over at Wilstone it was good to see the pair of Mandarin again. The highlight though was a visit from a Peregrine which took a pigeon in a puff of feathers.
Chiffchaff by Phill Luckhurst

Mandarin by Phill Luckhurst

Swans by Phill Luckhurst


Gary Hinton - I was around startops at 3pm between the canal and path near the car park, there was a few pied wags with one grey also feeding on the grass with the other on the startops rim, also there was I'm sure by their sound 2 Rock pipits. Also around the canal side of the bluebell cafe there was a cetti singing from the lock over flow. The barnacle was still with the Canada's  on marsworth. The female red crested pochard was still in the canal near by. A Chiffchaf going back and forth from the other side of canal to the picnic area between startops and marsworth. 
Blackcap by Gary Hinton


Grey Wagtail by Gary Hinton




Meadow or Rock? by Gary Hinton

Red Kite display by Gary Hinton

Reed Bunting by Gary Hinton

Barnacle Goose by Gary Hinton

Mistle Thrush by Gary Hinton

Tuesday 24th March 2015.


James Heron - A few pictures from Wilstone today.
Tree maintenance 

Fresh bales going out by James Heron

The Barnacle Goose and Greylag by James Heron

The Barnacle Goose by James Heron

Red Kite sparring  by James Heron

Egyptian Geese by James Heron

Steve Allen - Wilstone; A Goldcrest and Tree Creeper spotted at the junction of footpaths that lead to the hide

Monday 23rd March 2015.
Gary Hinton - I took a wander around Wilstone Reservoir yesterday afternoon, parking near the cemetery, I walked though the field track to see the 4 Egyptian Geese arrive in the adjacent field before I got to the wooded area they had taken off to go into the field behind the farm shop. also there were a number of Blackbirds, Pied Wagtails, Song Thrush and a pair of Oystercatchers.
The goldeneye’s could be seen from the old overflow area, near a number of Tufted duck, which made me smile. In the field behind the old overflow was the Barnacle Goose with a number of Greylag. The Cormorants seem intent of changing the colour of there world to black and white.
On route to the hide I saw a Treecreeper that seemed to be feeding on insects living on fungi of a fallen tree. I saw 5 Sand Martin from the hide, before seeing the normal feeding flock of Linnets with Yellowhammer & Reed Bunting, in field behind the path to the hide. The flock looked larger than I've seen before. (this was around 5:00 PM) As the weather began to change to light rain I saw a single Yellowhammer, by Rushy meadow area singing from high. A single Chinese Water Deer was making its way across the field and had rested down against the hedgerow leading down from the dry canal, it hadn't noticed me until I got quite close, then sprang into life, dancing across the fields.
Egyptian Geese by Gary Hinton

Oystercatcher and Egyptian goose by Gary Hinton

Linnet Flock by Gary Hinton

Oystercatcher Pair by Gary Hinton

Pied Wagtail by Gary Hinton

Treecreeper by Gary Hinton

Tufted Duck by Gary Hinton

Yellowhammer by Gary Hinton




Rob Andrews - The Starlings put on a good show again at Marsworth Res' this evening. Around 2000 birds avoiding the attentions of the local Sparrowhawks. Cetti's Warbler singing close to the causeway.
Starling Murmuration by Rob Andrews

Saturday 21st March 2015.
Richard Wignall - I went for a walk with my camera on Friday afternoon and saw a wide range of birdlife - Goldfinches trying to impress females in the trees by the bridge over the dry waterway.

Fieldfare in the tall trees around Startops. Teal in pairs on Startops near the hide.

I also saw what appears to be a lone male Scaup diving continually at some distance from the hide - it might be a Scaup/Tufted hybrid as from some angles there appears to be a tuft but it is not clear.

I also saw long-tailed tits, blackbirds, robins, jackdaws, chaffinches, wood pigeons, mallards, pochards, dunnocks & black headed gulls. I attach some images.
Teal by Richard Wignall

Fieldfare by Richard Wignall

Long-tailed Tit by Richard Wignall

Mallard by Richard Wignall

Scaup Hybrid by Richard Wignall

Scaup Hybrid by Richard Wignall

Teal by Richard Wignall

Robin by Richard Wignall


Friday 20th March 2015.
Ian Williams - Attached a couple of photos of the scoter taken around 6pm tonight after it had decided to wake up and come a little closer to the bank (once the light had almost gone!). It was still there when Steve and I left at dusk.

A swallow flew through earlier along with at least 5 sand martin.
Common Scoter by Ian Williams

Common Scoter by Ian Williams


@TringBirds - Common scoter still present at Wilstone late afternoon.

Sarah Murtagh - After the drama of the morning eclipse, I nipped to the Plover hide and saw this cheeky chappie and my first bee on the blossom.
Blossom by Sarah Murtagh

Long-tailed Tit by Sarah Murtagh

First Bee by Sarah Murtagh

Long-tailed Tit by Sarah Murtagh

Sally Douglas - 20 March 10.00am. As it could be seen from Tring Reservoirs thought you might like a photo of the Eclipse. Also Wilstone car park on Sunday 15 March full of Police cars, Paramedics and an Ambulance after a woman, unfortunately, fell down into the water from the jetty side where, I believe, some of the gaps are taped off.
Sally Douglas

Today's eclipse by Sally Douglas
Peter Brazier - Clouds broke just enough to see the eclipse over the steps. Because it was so overcast anyway the scene did not change that much during the eclipse, the birds didn't go quiet like they did in 1999.
Solar Eclipse over Wilstone by Peter Brazier

Roy Hargreaves -  The pre-dawn patrol was out this morning and I knew it was a good day to be out when I stood on the canal footbridge watching three Reeves’s Muntjac in the fields and something caught my eye and I looked round to see a Barn Owl less than fifteen metres away from me. It flew up from the Dry Canal into the fields by Miswell Farm so a good start. The Oystercatchers were by the jetty and five Goldeneye was just off the jetty, including the fine male. As I walked up to David he was smiling and he told me to look down his scope. I was expecting Goosander but a male Common Scoter was even better. It was quite mobile and dived occasionally. It even tried to get mingle with other wildfowl but one or two of the Coot weren’t having that. Also a Little Egret was by the barn conversions in Wilstone and Chiffchaff numbers have increased so Spring is progressing nicely so far.

Yesterday two Red Kite were looking serious round by Rushy Meadow and a Marsh Tit was singing in the last tree by the path up to the Dry Canal on my way home. I also saw Green Woodpecker courtship, which I don’t recall seeing before. A pair were in the same tree near the Waddesdon Gate ad one was sat across the branch and swaying its whole body from one angle to another in a manner not dissimilar to Riflebirds but without the extravagant wing movements.
Common Scoter by Roy Hargreaves


Thursday 19th March 2015.
Lucy Flower - A bit of a grey day and a chilly wind but really nice to get out around the reservoirs. I was hoping for a Rock Pipit (the last couple of years they've turned up a Startops/Marsworth around this time) but no luck. The female Scaup was still on Startops along with a Redshank, which flew around for a while, settled and then flew off towards College Lake. A couple of Grey Wagtails were flitting about, a Chiffchaff was singing and the female Red-crested Pochard was on the canal. I didn't look for the Barnacle Goose and I didn't see any hirundines.

Over on Wilstone, I continued my Rock Pipit search without success, but I enjoyed watching an Oystercatcher flying around the jetty area and calling. It (or another one) was on the Tern raft when I eventually got round to the hide. I caught a glimpse of one Goldeneye as it dived but I didn't scan thoroughly for others. Since my last Meniere's flare up (degenerative inner ear condition), I find scanning with binoculars or a scope quite difficult. There were at least 6 Red Kites visible from Wilstone. 2 over the east corner, 4+ circling south of the hide. A Little Egret flew through at one point and I spotted 3 Sand Martins but didn't scan extensively for others.

Behind the hide, one Chiffchaff was singing whilst another was calling, and a Treecreeper flew in and scuttled up a tree almost right in front of me. It was a shame conditions were so dark and dismal.
Chiffchaff by Lucy Flower

Great-crested Grebe by Lucy Flower

Oystercatcher by Lucy Flower

Pied Wagtail by Lucy Flower

Redshank by Lucy Flower

Treecreeper by Lucy Flower


Wednesday 18th March 2015.
Gary Hinton - Some pictures from the reservoirs today.
Buzzard by Gary Hinton

Chiffchaff by Gary Hinton

Goldeneye by Gary Hinton

Canada Geese in flight by Gary Hinton


Long Tailed Tit by Gary Hinton

Oystercatchers by Gary Hinton

Red-crested Pochard by Gary Hinton

Red-crested Pochard by Gary Hinton

Redshank by Gary Hinton

Redshank in flight by Gary Hinton

Redshank in flight by Gary Hinton


Tuesday 17th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I started at Wilstone Res car park and managed to hear a Little Owl in the fields opposite the car park. This is the third of fourth time I’ve heard one over there in the past six months so there is a possibility of a pair near Wilstone village which would be positive. Also there was a Little Egret in the field opposite the car park. The Oystercatchers were mobile as always and five Goldeneye were present. Marsworth had a distant singing Cetti’s Warbler and Startops had eight Sand Martins and the female Scaup still favouring the west side by the barley bales when I was there. When Charlie mentioned the Linnets it sparked a memory and I checked back and remembered that I took a photo last September round by the cress beds and counted 129 Linnets on that occasion on the fields before they were ploughed under for the planting of Winter Wheat. The field surrounding the west corner of Wilstone Res and also the one next to it, that is next to the Drayton Beauchamp road, are fairly good in the winter as they are often left as stubble throughout the winter and they have had Brambling among the finches and buntings – although I’ve not seen any so far this year though.
Scaup by Roy Hargreaves


Sunday 15th March 2015.
Philip Murray - I visited Tring Reservoirs for the first time last Friday - I live in Oxfordshire.  I took
a few photos and wondered if any of them were of use - lone dunlin by northern wall of Startopsend, Red-crested Pochard on the canal behind and a curious attack by a domestic duck on a drake mallard.  I realise the latter may be a familiar sight at Tring, but I've not seen it before - I'd welcome an explanation if you have one!
Dunlin by Philip Murray

Dunlin by Philip Murray

Female Red-crested Pochard by Philip Murray

Domestic Duck and Drake Mallard by Philip Murray

Really?

Escape by Philip Murray


Saturday 14th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Excellent photos of the Sand Martins Ian.

The Barnacle Goose made it to College Lake this morning and was back on Wilstone this evening. I saw two Redshank this morning at Wilstone and one was still there this evening.

The most noteworthy birds in the gull roost were three Herring Gulls – no Meds or Little Gull.

Ian Williams - A selection of sand martin photos taken from the jetty this morning. As well as the birds reported by Charlie I can add a marsh tit singing near the estate gate, barnacle goose close in to the hide with greylags before flying towards Startops and a little owl (heard only) from the Dry Canal which was most likely one of the Miswell Farm birds. I also heard one last night in the same area. At least 4 chiff chaff singing and an additional bird seen moving along the hedgerow by the new overflow.
Sand Martin by Ian Williams

Sand Martin by Ian Williams

Sand Martin by Ian Williams

Charles Jackson - With Steve and Ian there were 5 Sand Martins at Wilstone along with a Raven and a Redshank. Later on the 2 Oystercatchers were on the Jetty seemingly unworried by Joggers and Dog-walkers. Attached are a few shots as well as a couple showing the Linnet and Yellowhammer flock from last night and a couple of a Red-crested Pochard at Marsworth.
Linnets by Charles Jackson

Linnet and Yellowhammer by Charles Jackson

Oystercatcher by Charles Jackson

Oystercatcher by Charles Jackson

Red-crested Pochard female by Charles Jackson



James Heron - Some Redwings getting ready to go home.
Redwing by James Heron

Redwing by James Heron

Friday 13th March 2015.
Sean Hinks - "Arrived at Wilstone roughly 10 o'clock and headed down to cemetery corner first of all to see if I could spot the Stonechats but sadly no sign of any. Walking back to the car park I spotted two Oystercatchers in the field by cemetery corner and in the next field was a buzzard perched on a hedgerow in the middle of the field. Nothing my else on the reservoir to note so headed over to Marsworth. Marsworth certainly produced the goods yesterday, a pair of Oystercatchers were on the field beyond the canal, I then moved round to the corner of Marsworth to see whether the kingfishers would perch up for a decent enough shot. The kingfishers were showing well but not perching up. To my surprise I then heard a water rail calling and then spotted it in the reeds, this was my first time seeing one and was very pleased, I didn't think the day could get any better but then I heard a rustling in the trees and out pops the Mink which I never thought i'd see. He/She was very active, running around on the fallen trees back and forth across the water."
Buzzard by Sean Hinks

Water Rail by Sean Hinks

Mink by Sean Hinks

Mink by Sean Hinks

Nigel Evans - I was cycling along the towpath by lock 41 and sighted a large mink ahead of me. As soon it saw me it turned and ran back into the bushes by Marsworth reservoir.I cycle and walk this route several times each week and it is the first time I have spotted a mink. I am curious to know whether there have been any other sightings.I imagine that a mink presence could have a serious effect on any birds nesting in that vicinity,particularly the swans that nest in the nearby reed beds.

Roy Hargreaves - This morning at Wilstone there was a Chiffchaff singing in the hedge by the overflow. The two Oystercatchers were mobile, three Goldeneye were present, and two Little Egrets were in the middle bushes with one in the field opposite the car park. Also three Muntjac on the bank by the north corner moved through into the adjacent overgrown field. Startops still had the Sand Martin and the 1st winter female Greater Scaup was still there and asleep. Also two Chiffchaffs were singing – one in the trees at the back of Marsworth and one by the canal. A second visit to Wilstone to release a Wood Mouse and there was a Sand Martin there too and the Barnacle Goose was in the field next to Cemetery Corner and neither of these were present earlier.

Charles Jackson - There was an impressive Winter flock of Buntings and Finches feeding in the field adjacent to the Old Overflow this afternoon. I counted at least 70 Linnets as well as about 15 Yellowhammers, 25 Chaffinches and 8 Reed Buntings. There was also Chiffchaff singing at Wilstone near the Car Park. While I was there Steve found an adult winter Little Gull in the Gull flock.

Dave Bilcock - ‏@TringBirds Sand Martin over canal and paddocks by Startops this morning
Wednesday 11th March 2015.
James Heron - Saw this gull at the reservoirs and wondered if anyone could id it for him.

Tuesday 10th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - It was clear and still this morning on my walk down and round Wilstone Reservoir this morning. Walking through Miswell Farm I heard a bird making interesting noises and looked up to see a falcon clutching a black bird of some sort. It was 6:25 and the light wasn’t good enough to tell what the falcon was or its prey. From the bridge over the Dry Canal I could see a male Chinese Water Deer walking across the fields. Also beneath the footbridge the canal restoration people have built an large embankment across the canal so presumably they are looking at putting water into that stretch fairly soon. Carrying on to the Cemetery Corner I rounded the corner and saw the two Oystercatchers by the corner and scanning further along I saw a large brown bird stood by the jetty and was pleased to see it was a Curlew. After yesterday’s report I assumed it was one of the birds that breeds locally and this sighting would suggest that too. Ringing David Bilcock he was in the car park and so headed to the north corner of the reservoir as the bird was behind a ridge and so was invisible from the car park steps. Eventually it took flight and flew off calling but we thought it might have landed in a field and checked for it and in so doing I found two or four Red-legged Partridges in the field on the inside of the Wilstone Cemetery bend, but no sign of the Curlew.

Carrying round the reservoir I saw three Goldeneye and had a Pied Wagtail walking towards me by the car park steps. Little else to report other than birds were in song everywhere including a Marsh Tit round by Rushy Meadow.
Oystercatchers by Roy Hargreaves

Curlew by Roy Hargreaves

Pied Wagtail by Roy Hargreaves

Sarah Murtagh - Today I saw male and female bullfinches, tufted ducks, 2 swans, a dunnock (I think), blue tits and some mallards at the Plover hide. On Saturday moorhen, swans, mallards and again a singing dunnock .
Sunshine and a Swan Reflection by Sarah Murtagh

Blossom outside the Plover Hide by Sarah Murtagh
4 duck race by Sarah Murtagh

Coot by Sarah Murtagh


Dunnock by Sarah Murtagh

Dunnock by Sarah Murtagh


Monday 9th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I managed to see two pairs of Red-legged Partridges on my walk round Wilstone. The four Goldeneye were in their usual location and the two Oystercatchers were on the bank by the jetty. Further round I saw a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull with about 20 Black-headed Gulls and two Egyptian Geese, which disappeared into the bushes to reappear later as a group of four. The Med Gull looks like the same bird that David saw from the hide last night and one of the Egyptian Geese had a distinctive paler head. I also heard a singing Blackcap by Miswell Farm.

Sunday 8th March 2015.
Charles Jackson - After seeing the 2 Stonechats I eventually caught up with the female Scaup at Startops. Also a Kingfisher at Marsworth and an Oystercatcher over as well. A female Red-crested Pochard on the canal too.

Dave Hutchinson - Two Stonechats along the fence line in ‘cemetery corner’. Went back later to get some better shots but the wind had picked up and they weren’t showing.
Stonechat by David Hutchinson

Roy Hargreaves - Today was the WeBS count day so I wasn’t carrying my camera. I started at Tringford and all was common species until a large, predominantly white, bird flew through my view and I followed it to see that a male Shelduck had settled on the water relatively close to the hide (with no camera!!). Moving on to Startops for the count I had already quickly scanned it and seen the Scaup first thing to get it onto the count just in case it disappeared in the mean time. It was still there for the count proper and the two Oystercatchers were on the bank by the lay-by and apart from the wildfowl Red Kites seemed to be everywhere and this continued throughout the morning. While counting I received a text from David to say there was a Stonechat on the fence that runs parallel to the Cemetery Track – a regular spot for them to turn up.

I waited until I had completed the counts at the small reservoirs and stopped at Wilstone Cemetery to see if the Stonechat was still about. When I first arrived the Stonechat was by itself, then it was joined by a Meadow Pipit on the fence and then finally it was joined a second Stonechat. While there were subtle differences between the two birds I thought they were both females, but didn’t spend as long with them as I would have liked.

Four Goldeneye, one male, were in the usual area. From the hide there was a melee of dabbling ducks in front of the hide with Shoveler predominating. Numbers of Shoveler were down from last month but still 160+ on Wilstone alone is a big count. The rest of the count was uneventful and one Siskin flying over as I returned to the car park was the finale.

On returning home I found a Wood Mouse in our humane traps and so returned to Marsworth to release it and took my camera to see if the Scaup was as close as it had been earlier. It wasn’t but the light was better than yesterday and it was showing well in the south corner.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier in the week was that I saw two Little Owls in the usual tree at Miswell Farm, which is reassuring as I would assume that is a breeding pair. As the days get longer it may be that the sightings will become more regular as I have only seen Little Owl on four occasions so far this year so they haven’t been easy so far this year.
Scaup by Roy Hargreaves


Peter Brazier - Stonechats, male and female along the path from the cemetery to Wilstone. I hope someone else got a better picture than this.
Stonechat by Peter Brazier

Saturday 7th March 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - I started early hoping to see the Miswell Little Owl but only managed a quick glimpse. At the top of the hill a Tawny flew across the path just a few feet in front of me which made me jump a bit. I noticed a mouse running in and out of an obvious path so I setup my camera with a remote release hoping to grab a shot or two. I was quite lucky as he seemed very active running back and forth collecting bits of bird seed I put down. Not all rodents are lucky though as a little later above Rushy Meadow this Kestrel was being chased by a pair of Magpie for its prey. I cannot quite work out what it has in its talons. In the woods in the corner of Wilstone there was a pair of Nuthatch showing well, they are always fun to watch.
Kestrel by Phill Luckhurst

Kestrel by Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst


Roy Hargreaves - I managed a couple of visits to the reservoirs today at the start and the end. At Wilstone Goldeneye were down to one male and two females and two Little Egrets were in the field opposite the car park. The two Oystercatchers were also about on the banks first thing and then on a tern raft. Marsworth had two singing male Cetti’s Warblers and about 20 Corn Buntings flew in to roost but again the Bittern was not playing nice. Startops had the 1st winter female Greater Scaup and it was relatively close to the bank this morning and occasionally popped its head out. Also a group of Canada flew onto Startops with the Barnacle Goose in tow. This is the first time I have seen this Barnacle Goose in Herts. The Canada and Barnacle flew off and headed towards Wilstone and flew past there apparently. I have included two photos of the Scaup as the distinctive head shape can be in both photos when the bird is awake and asleep. I was also wondering is anyone else has seen this Barnacle Goose in Herts before today as the reports I’ve seen either place it firmly in Bucks or are ambiguous?
Barnacle in Herts by Roy Hargreaves

Greater Scaup by Roy Hargreaves

Greater Scaup by Roy Hargreaves


Charles Jackson - The warm Spring sun brought out hordes of Butterflies today - I counted 20 Brimstones and a couple of Peacocks, many of those a Wendover Woods. Perhaps a good sign for another great Butterfly year?
At Wendover a couple of Siskins flew over and 2 Buzzards were displaying. The trees were alive with singing Goldcrests but I could not find any Firecrests - perhaps it is a bit early. A Cetti's Warblers was singing at Marsworth near the overflow plus a Kingfisher there as well.

Roger Payne - The female Scaup was on Startops this afternoon, making itself difficult to pick out with head down on the side away from the bank.

Friday 6th March 2015.
Peter Brazier - Spent some time this afternoon helping Lynne Lambert put up 4 new nest boxes in the woods behind the treatment works lagoon. The boxes, made by the Hawk & Owl Trust  were donated by FoTR and will be monitored by Lynne and the Tring Ringing Group. We saw a pair of Bullfinches and had a Water Rail scurry a few feet in front of us.


Thursday 5th March 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was sunny and still first thing and it was actually birding light by 6:30am so the days are getting noticeably longer very quickly now. On the way down I saw two Chinese Water Deer in Rushy Meadow. Heading towards the jetty I saw two Oystercatchers on the bank and they then flew on to a tern raft so presumably they are last year’s breeding pair. From the jetty one male Goldeneye and three females were displaying. For the second day running I couldn’t find any Pintail at all so presumably they have moved on. By the hide a male Treecreeper was singing, but then most resident songbirds seemed to be singing this morning. The Male Marsh Tit was also singing by the hide as was a Robin. Even Red Kites were being very vocal over the fields round the back and Skylarks were all up.
Oystercatcher by Roy Hargreaves

Treecreeper by Roy Hargreaves

Robin by Roy Hargreaves

Gary Hinton - Startops, Marsworth, Tringford & Wilstone Reservoirs, 04/03/15
It was very windy but not as cold as it had been.
Marsworth.
The Barnacle Goose was with at least 40 Canada Geese in Marsworth reservoir at the canal end, with at least three pairs of Great Crested Grebes.
There was very little on Startops, what was sticking to the margins as cover from the windy conditions.
It was nice to see the stream, which I didn't even know existed, is now viewable from the Southbank of Startops Reservoir. There was a fair amount of small birds at the overflow area with a Dunnock, Wren, a pair Long-tailed, Great, Blue Tits, Blackbird and Chaffinches to be seen feeding  within the relatively small area.
Over at Tringford it seemed quiet again with the wind still persisting but there was a single dabchick still holding to the edge of the reservoir running parallel to the road. Most of what was about was in the distant margins; the swan family could still be seen.
Over to Wilstone 
Again the wind was keeping most things to distance. I had been told that there were a few Goldeneye, but they were right in the far corner opposite the jetty and I couldn't quite make them out with my goggles (scope needed).
On route to the Drayton Hide, whilst walking pass the old overflow area I noticed a flock of small birds taking off swirling round and landing looking like they were feeding around the path between the crop fields, towards the main road. I went to investigate what they were, to find a flock of Linnets approximately 25, Chaffinches 25, at least 6 Yellowhammer and a few Reed Bunting. The flock was very intent on feeding, taking to the roadside hedgerows whilst I got nearer towards them, and then returning to the same area to feed once I'd passed them.
At the Hide again to wind was keeping many of the wildfowl to the margins of the split. There was a number Shoveler with a few Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot with a few of the Gulls that are roosting there. There doesn't seem very many mute swans to be seen, maybe three though I did see one coming in as I was walking back though.
After going to the Hide I followed the path directly from the Hide path of towards a little Spinney with a number horse paddocks amongst it. There is also a few houses which seem to be within view of the path, so be careful to where are you viewing!
In this spinney there’s another little stream which leads to the stream a long side the path s the hide,  I found Blackbirds, Thrushes, Goldfinches, Robbins, Longtailed, Great, Blue Tits,  & a pair of Greenfinch, with plenty more Chaffinches and heard a Buzzard calling from the within trees, this could place which may be hiding more, but do remember there is housing within the footpaths.
I then came back out into the main field where the pylon runs.
The field between the Watercress beds and the Reservoir held 15+ Redwing and 40+ Fieldfare feeding within. This was around 4 pm, whilst viewing maybe another 50 birds mainly fieldfare came in to feed.
The wind had died down by this time; it turned into a very pleasant late afternoon.
Walking on towards the Dry Canal, I could hear the least two Skylarks singing over the crop fields, but was unable to see them.
At the bridge on the Dry Canal, where it joins the path back down to the wooded area at the back of the reservoir, I was able to see two male and one female Bullfinch, feeding on new tree buds.
There were two Goldcrest busy looking for insects and catching flies by the woods in cemetery Corner.
Around the jetty there was a single Pied Wagtail also seen on the floating debris:  in the field at the rear of the farm shop there were a number of Greylag with a few Canada Geese feeding in the crop field.
Barnacle with Canada by Gary Hinton

Barnacle with Canada by Gary Hinton

Bullfinch by Gary Hinton

Cormorant by Gary Hinton

Dunnock by Gary Hinton

Goldcrest by Gary Hinton

Reed Bunting by Gary Hinton


Wednesday 4th March 2015.
Charles Jackson - There was a female Stonechat along Newground Road on the way out of Aldbury this morning. Also a Raven about. At Marsworth there were 2 Kingfishers noisily chasing each other near the overflow. Also the Barnacle Goose was still in the field with the Canada flock. A Red-crested Pochard on the canal as well. Photos attached of a friendly Wren as well... I saw my first Tortoiseshell Butterfly a few days ago on a cold dull day but nothing since despite the warm sun.
Barnacle Goose by Chaz Jackson

Barnacle Goose by Chaz Jackson

Barnacle Goose by Chaz Jackson

Black-headed Gull by Chaz Jackson

Canada Goose by Chaz Jackson

Wren by Chaz Jackson

Wren by Chaz Jackson

Sarah Murtagh - These are my only offering today, a couple of ducks and a robin by Startops.
Mallards  by Sarah Murtagh

 by Sarah Murtagh

Robin in full voice by Sarah Murtagh


Monday 2nd March 2015.
David Hutchinson - Popped over to Marsworth this afternoon to see the Barnacle Goose which was still with a large number of Canada Geese in the field behind the canal. Nice to see the Grebes doing their ‘thing’ and a Grey Wag fishing from floating weed on the canal.
Great Crested Grebes by Dave Hutchinson

Grey Wagtail; by Dave Hutchinson

Sunday 1st March 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - Just a quick visit to the Plover hide today, saw the Tufted's again, a moth & flying ducks!
Ducks by Sarah Murtagh

Moth? by Sarah Murtagh

Tufted Duck by Sarah Murtagh

Tufted Duck by Sarah Murtagh

________________________________________________________________________________
For other bird sightings in the area please visit Herts Bird Club. for whom we thank for many of the sightings listed here.
  
For information about other wildlife visit The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and see Hertfordshire Natural History Society.
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites
(Abbreviations: HBC Herts Bird Club, BBC Bucks Bird Club, BBYG Bucksbirders Yahoo Group, HBYG Hertsbirding Yahoo Group.

And, please note that unless a reported sighting is clearly a mistake, we try to post them without too much delay. Therefore many of these sightings are unchecked. Please bear this in mind when checking sightings above and if appropriate, please send further corroborative records or any other information you may have.