September 2014

  

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

Cancelled: The work party at Startops on 21st Sep. has been cancelled due to conditions on the mud.
26th Sept: Science Uncovered at the Tring Natural History Museum.

• Thursday 18th September 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Trying to escape political talk everywhere and the fact it was such a stunning day I walked all the reservoirs and many of the surrounding pathways. Bird wise it was surprisingly quiet. Especially noticeable was the absence of the terns that have provided so much enjoyment over the summer. Waders also seemed lacking but in one of the feed streams I did spot this Green Sandpiper. The back of Tringford also had a couple of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and amongst the numerous small birds I think there was a Spotted Flycatcher still around. There were also a few Bullfinch feeding in the bramble.
Green Sandpiper by Phill Luckhurst

Coot by Phill Luckhurst

Blackcap by Phill Luckhurst

Wilstone had a Red Kite landing on the mud near the Drayton Hide apparently taking a piece of a dead fish. The spit in front was almost empty, not even the lapwings were around. Most of the life had moved over to in front of the jetty.

Up along the Wendover Arm were good numbers of Goldfinch with a few Greenfinch and Yellowhammer but little else. Wasp numbers have risen massively but bees seem a lot harder to find as they have been all year.


• Tuesday 16th September 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Not much has changed at the reservoirs today bird wise but it was great to see 3 Whinchat up near the old cress beds. Sadly they were very flighty probably due to the presence of both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk nearby so I could only manage this record shot. Obviously me pointing the big Cyclops eye of my 400mm at them had no effect on their nervousness whatsoever, honest. Tringford had huge numbers of Dragons today all eagerly laying the next generation. A single Pintail was near the hide along with a Red-Crested Pochard. I only saw one Little Grebe today, they only seem to show well when it is nice and sunny.
Kestrel by Phill Luckhurst

Whinchat by Phill Luckhurst

• Monday 15th September 2014.
Francis Buckle - Attached 3 low res pics of the Pintail and Black-tailed Godwit yesterday am at Wilstone.
Black-tailed Godwit by Francis Buckle

Pintail by Francis Buckle

Pintail by Francis Buckle

• Sunday 14th September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning the four Egyptian Geese were again on the spit and flew off in a north-westerly direction for the second morning in a row. One Pintail by the reeds and two on Drayton Lagoon again and a Shelduck was on the spit. This morning I could only see two Black-tailed Godwits, one Greenshank, one Common Sandpiper, one Green Sandpiper, four Ringed Plover and one Little Ringed Plover. While in the hide this male Reeves’ Muntjac was grazing just the other side of the creek.
Reeves' Muntjac by Roy Hargreaves

Tringford had a Red-crested Pochard and this Little Egret that flew off to Startops and was on the mud when I got there.
Little Egret by Roy Hargreaves

• Saturday 13th September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - I did all of the reservoirs this morning and fog certainly hampered an early start again. Again the four Egyptian Geese were on the spit in front of the jetty again first thing and flew off a bit later this morning – presumably due to the fog. There are now three Pintail about so numbers appear to be building up as normal and one Shelduck is still about. Wader-wise I saw four Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, four Ringed Plover, one Little Ringed Plover and a DunlinStartops had a Yellow Wagtail and two Little Egrets, which then relocated over to Tringford. I have only seen the colour-ringed bird on the Wednesday and not since. I was doing the WeBS count and so didn’t have my camera with me on that occasion, but if the Little Egret reappears I will try and get a photo.


Mike Wallen - Totally fogged out on the hills, so I had a good walk around the 3 smaller ressies.
Startops had clearly seen an influx of 'duck', another sign of a rapidly changing season. I noted -
56 Teal, 3 Common Tern, 1 Little egret, 17 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, 8 Wigeon, 2 Pochard and 6 Grey Wagtail.


• Friday 12th September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning the overcast conditions made for a dull start. From Cemetery Corner there was an eclipse mal Pintail among the other dabbling duck. As I was stood there I heard geese and saw four Egyptian Geese fly up from the spit and off towards the small reservoirs. Apparently four Egyptian Geese were on Wilstone yesterday too so they appear to be lingering in the area. A Shelduck was still about and there was slight change on the waders front as I could only find one Black-tailed Godwit, five Ringed Plover, one Little Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, two+ Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper.

Round the back there is a flock of at least 129 Linnets (that is what I counted on my photograph anyway), near the cress beds in the fields and they attracted the half-hearted attention of a Hobby and the more determined attention of a Sparrowhawk.

Larger mammals comprised three Reeves’ Muntjac, three Chinese Water Deer and two Foxes.

Thanks to Mike Collard I know that the colour-ringed Little Egret that I saw yesterday was one of the young hatched this year at Verulamium Park. They were ringed in June and apparently this is the first report of any of the young after they left the park.

• Thursday 11th September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning the number of Ringed Plover on Wilstone had increased to five with one Little Ringed Plover vaguely associating with them. Also a juvenile Dunlin, Greenshank, 2+ Green Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and 1+ Common Sandpiper. On the wildfowl front an eclipse male Pintail is the first that I have seen this autumn and a Shelduck is also about.

Yesterday 3 Red-crested Pochard were on Wilstone and two escaped Whooper and 2 escaped Black Swans were on the spit by the jetty. A colour-ringed Little Egret was on Tringford and then Startops and I will report back if I find out more as I have the colours and letter and number so I am hopeful. Numbers of Common Tern are dropping but still they are around much later than normal.

• Tuesday 9th September 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Today was a colourful day where bird life is concerned. At Tringford a male Mandarin was swimming around and in front of the hide a Little Grebe was feeding its young.
Mandarin by Phill Luckhurst

Little Grebe feeding young by Phill Luckhurst

Later in the day I visited Wilstone where the colour was from a brief visit by 2 Egyptian Geese. Neither were ringed so not the pair from Rickmansworth. Later a few of us were sat in the Daryton Hide watching some young deer play and feed. While it is not obvious from the pic the front of the two has a pronounced limp in one of its back legs. It seems to be moving ok at speed so hopefully it is nothing nasty.
Egyptian Geese by Phill Luckhurst

Common Snipe by Phill Luckhurst

Chinese Water Deer by Phill Luickhurst

Roy Hargreaves - This morning I walked down to Wilstone in the dark and heard a male Tawny Owl near Miswell House and a male and Female Tawny Owl at the back of Wilstone. There were no waders by the reeds and from the jetty I checked the lengthening spit and saw six Ruff scattered feeding along it. I found out from someone in the hide that they had turned up late morning on Monday. By the overflow on the mud I could see one Little Ringed Plover, four Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, and Common and Green Sandpipers. From the hide I saw three Snipe and the light off to the right was dire and anything could have been out there to be honest.

This evening a futile attempt to see five Egyptian Geese that Steve Rodwell had texted me about result in three Little Egrets at Startops but little else of note.

Francis Buckle - 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, From the Drayton Hide at 11:00.

• Monday 8th September 2014.
Steve Clark - Wilstone, 6 Ruff at 12:10 today for about five minutes! They arrived and fed to the left of the hide.

• Sunday 7th September 2014.
Ian Williams - The Great White Egrets were present from about 9.40 until just after 11.30 when I picked up what I was pretty certain was them flying away over the jetty and circling, gaining height. Certainly I know Roy failed to see them from the jetty area about 15 minutes later, an area where they would certainly have been seen as they had last been seen from the hide walking behind the bushes on the Drayton bank. Photos of the ruff and egrets attached.
Great White Egret by Ian Williams

Great White Egret by Ian Williams

Ruff by Ian Williams




Roy Hargreaves - The highs and lows of birding were perfectly encapsulated today at Wilstone. I walked down first thing and it was dull and overcast and started with a couple of Black-tailed Godwits and a couple of Greenshank on the mud visible from Cemetery Corner and a female and fawn Reeves’ Muntjac by the hedge. From near the siphon I spotted a small flock of medium-sized waders landing on the small island by the mudflat and expected them to be Golden Plover and so was pleasantly surprised to see that they were Ruff. I counted seven and then got closer and managed to see all ten of them. After Ian had joined me it was no surprise that everything went up as a female Peregrine flew round looking for breakfast. I assume that this is the 1st summer female I saw perched in a tree a few weeks ago round the back. At one stage in the proceedings five Black-tailed Godwits joined the Ruff and they all headed out into Bucks only to return and settle back on the mud. Also the two Little Ringed Plovers were on the mud in the same area as the Ruff.

Ian and I headed for the hide and when we got there we couldn’t find the Ruff but weren’t sure if they had flown to a different part of the reservoir as they had been quite flighty even when the Peregrine wasn’t about. It became clear though they had departed while we were en route. From the hide the other lingering waders were all visible and we heard and saw a Ringed Plover flying around. So all in all not a bad first visit to Wilstone

Later I managed to miss the Great White Egrets by five to ten minutes and on my third visit I found a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the mudflat in the middle of a Black-headed Gull flock but again still no Great White Egrets. Maybe I’ll get the next one. Having missed about six or seven sightings since 2008 and only seen one in that same period they aren’t easy by any means! I have included record shots of the Peregrine and the Ruff and their lack of quality is easily explained by the dull conditions etc.
Ruff by Roy Hargreaves

Peregrine by Roy Hargreaves



Ben Miller - The two GREAT WHITE EGRETS, seen flying over Weston Turville by Tim earlier, are still on Wilstone, currently resting on the Drayton Bank. The 10 Ruff present earlier at Wilstone have departed, but other birds still present include Greenshank, Blackwits, Ringed Plover, Hobby and Wheatear.

• Saturday 6th September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I started at Wilstone where I saw eight Black-tailed Godwit, three Greenshank, two Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers and four Shelduck still about. Yellow Wagtails were calling but I didn't see them. Also I saw five Chinese Water Deer and a Fox and the two Whooper Swans. Tringford had five Red-crested Pochards and Startops had a Little Egret. On the hills I saw the two Whinchats and flocks of Linnets, Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches were mobile and a Raven flew over.
LRP by Roy Hargreaves

• Friday 5th September 2014.
Mike Wallen -  A really quick look with bins only- Startops - juv Black Tern still, 1 Little Egret.
Marsworth - 1 Hobby Wilstone - 3 Hobby, feral Whoopers and 3 Little Egret. There was no doubt waders at the latter but no time and no scope !

• Tuesday 2nd September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was quiet but a quick update on other matters. There are now cattle in the meadow behind the hide and being youngsters they can be curious. I could also tell that the days are getting shorter as I walked down to Wilstone and could hear a Tawny Owl hooting in the trees by the Waddesdon Estate gate. The Shelduck numbers are back up to four again and the waders seemed largely unchanged from yesterday. By the way I posted late last night and the mystery bird being fed was a young Little Egret. Curiously I saw what I assume was the same bird today and couldn’t see a ring on it so it may not be a local bird at all.

Phill Luckhurst - I had an early start today over at Tringford where the sunshine had bought out massive numbers of Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths. It was great to see a Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding albeit at a distance. First I have seen this year, last year there were loads at Wilstone but the water was still high. In front of the Hide there were 8 Little Grebe and a Buzzard circled above. I then left as a lady was playing fetch the stick with her dog in front of the hide.

Wandering around Startops and Marsworth it was great to see the Black Tern still around. There were plenty of insects too and as the day went on the flying ants left their nests en masse. While I sat photographing the ants an inquisitive Vole kept popping out of its hole, it didn't seem bothered by me at all. It is also the beginning of the fungus season with loads popping up around the reservoirs.

Over at Wilstone many were out enjoying the sunshine. Bird wise not a lot has changed since yesterdays report. The Little Ringed Plovers were very active and I also spotted a Ring-Necked Parakeet fly over. To the right of the hide briefly popping out of the reeds were 6 Snipe but never visible for long. It was also interesting to see a Female Kingfisher landing on the mud by the stream, it is not often you see them land other than on a perch, same happened yesterday morning. She is ringed.
Battling Ants by Phill Luckhurst

Buff Tip Moth by Phill Luckhurst

Buff Tip Moth by Phill Luckhurst

by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Migrant Hawker by Phill Luckhurst

Migrant Hawker by Phill Luckhurst

by Phill Luckhurst

Vole in a Hole by Phill Luckhurst

• Monday 1st September 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - The forecast promised dull and damp so I headed down in the car and did all of the reservoirs. Starting at Wilstone from the jetty there was a Common Redshank, a Black-tailed Godwit, several Wigeon and an eclipse male Red-crested Pochard visible from there. I also had several Yellow Wagtails flying about. While stood by the car park a Ring-necked Parakeet flew over me heading south-west in Bucks. David and I also saw it last week flying over the hide heading towards Tringford – so this bird is definitely on a regular route even if timings vary. The two juvenile Little Ringed Plover were on the mud closest to the overflow and seven Black-tailed Godwits were also in that area. From the hide two or three Greenshank were scattered around (I didn’t count them – oops!). A further Black-tailed Godwit off to the right made nine in total. Also three Shelduck were still about and 2 Green Sandpipers and at least three Common Sandpipers. What was interesting was that one of the nestlings seems have to have left the nest. It has scraggly feathers sticking up on its head and was demanding and getting food from at least one adult. David and I checked the nest and could see nothing, but that doesn’t mean much as they can be completely obscured. It was also interesting to note a young flightless Common Tern still on one of the tern rafts – definitely much later then we have experienced before on Wilstone. Normally by now the Common Terns have departed. First Startops then Marsworth played host to the Black Tern and I finally got an adequate photo of one as they are normally too distant for my camera. It was still overcast but I was pleased with the result even if it isn’t a prizewinner – now for a White-winged Black Tern this week. Mammal-wise it was the turn of the Reeves’s Muntjac, with one by the jetty and two by the hide, although a Chinese Water Deer appeared out of the reeds in the distance. On a general note the Chinese Water Deer are sometimes very co-operative first thing as this one was on Saturday. I also had this Hummingbird Hawk-moth in my garden this afternoon in a brief sunny period.
Chinese Water Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Black Tern by Roy Hargreaves

Hummingbird Hawk Moth by Roy Hargreaves

Michael Nott - Spent some time in hide this afternoon with Dave Hutchinson. Nothing really new. Water is still dropping and for some reason the spit in front of the hide was barren -presumably something spooked the birds. Heard that some fisherman had been out on mud the previous evening. Photography is getting
more difficult as the birds are further away, but sometimes the late afternoon light can compensate. Images of SNIPE, BLACK TAILED GODWIT, GREEN SANDPIPER, WHOOPER SWAN, LAPWING AND CHINESE WATER DEER attached. Some HOBBIES seen to right of hide (LOTS of dragonflies about). COMMON SANDPIPER and KINGFISHER and TEAL about.
Black-tailed Godwit by Michael Nott

Chinese Water Deer by Michael Nott

Lapwing by Michael Nott

Green Sandpiper by Michael Nott

Common Snipe by Michael Nott

Whooper by Michael Nott


Francis Buckle - Wilstone all the regular waders including 3 Greenshank and 2 Ringed Plover, Startops the juv Black Tern is still showing well.

Sally Douglas - In addition to above - Juv Little Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwits; 1 Redshank; 2 Common Sandpipers; 1 Green Sandpiper & 1 Common Snipe.
Little Ringed Plover by Sally Douglas

Common Snipe by Sally Douglas
_________________________________________________________________________________
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.

August 2014

  

WE NEED YOUR WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS PLEASE 
Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome.
NEWS: Work Party at Startops Reservoir 21st September 2014 The start time for the work party is 10am, we will be working until about 2pm but people can just come and work for an hour or so if that is all they can manage.
26th Sept: Science Uncovered at the Tring Natural History Museum.

• Sunday 31st August 2014.
David Hutchinson - After seeing the juv Black Tern at Startops moved on to Wilstone where Steve Rodwell spotted a Great White Egret fly in. Also noted at Wilstone were 9 Black-Tailed Godwits, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Greenshanks, 2 Whooper Swan and 3 Shelducks. Hobby at College. 
Black Tern by Dave Hutchinson

Black Tern by Dave Hutchinson

Black Tern by Dave Hutchinson

Great White Egret by Dave Hutchinson

Dave Bilcock has just texted to say Steve Rodwell has just seen a Great white Egret arrive at Wilstone.
via - Rob Andrews.

David Hutchinson has reported a Black Tern at Startopsend Reservoir.

• Saturday 30th August 2014.
Ben Miller - Bar-tailed Godwit reported by the new overflow at Wilstone per found my Mike C, per DB.

• Wednesday 27th August 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Today was superb for birds of prey at Wilstone. Starting with 2 Hobby, 2 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard and a Red Kite. We also had visits from 2 different Peregrine though I didn't see the second bigger bird, only the scraggly one that seems to have been showing for a while. The jewel in the crown was the Osprey as others had reported. I had popped over to Startops to try and find the trio of Sandwich Terns someone else mentioned and when I got back to Wilstone I was told by Mike it had recently left. When I arrived at the hid it had returned and was being mobbed by various gulls. It landed a few times on various posts, in the shallows and on the bank before flying quite close to the hide where I grabbed these shots. Later it vanished over the poplars to the right. The res was buzzing with many smiling faces.
Osprey by Phill Luckhurst

Osprey by Phill Luckhurst

Doug Helsby - Fantastic views of two Ospreys causing amok amongst the Lapwings which took to the sky en masse. A juvenile Peregrine followed through. A Sandwich Tern was photographed but I didn't see it as concentrating on Ospreys.
Osprey by Doug Helsby

Michael Nott  - As a follow up to an earlier email, please find attached some (very much) record shots of the Osprey taken from the Jetty bank as it moved over the Drayton bank (0.4 miles away). Spotted by Graham Gillan flying north to south over Drayton bank spooking everything in sight. Subsequently seen
catching a fish in Wilstone, so no doubt there are better pictures out there. Heard that others said two Ospreys.
Osprey by Michael Nott

Osprey by Michael Nott


Osprey being reported at Wilstone (Steve Rodwell & Bill George) Landed around 16:00

Roy Hargreaves - The clear conditions suggested a chance of movement this morning and that proved to be the case. From Cemetery Corner ten Black-tailed Godwits, a Green Sandpiper and three Shelduck were the highlights. Between the new and old overflow a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was new in and a Common Redshank was visible close to the hide. From the hide a single Black-tailed Godwit, two Greenshank and several Common Sandpipers were visible and only two or three Little Egrets. While sat in the hide we heard Ringed Plover calls and a flock of nine bird eventually landed on the mud by the overflow and proved to comprise seven Ringed Plover and two Dunlin.

The hedge through the hide meadow had a nice array of warblers with Garden and Willow being the highlight. The back fields had large flocks of Canada Geese in them, which is unusual in my experience as I think that the last flock of geese that I saw in these fields was fourteen Tundra Bean Geese in 2006 and in between them the lone Brent Goose that overwintered.

• Sunday 24th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - I delayed going out until late morning when the rain eased off. At Wilstone I headed for Cemetery Corner and scanned from there as it was reasonably sheltered. Three juvenile Shelduck were in that corner and eight Black-tailed Godwits, three Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper were scattered along the mud or in the water in front of the reeds. I checked the Little Egret nest on the way to the hide and there are still Egrets in it, but how many was impossible to say without waiting for movement. From the hide twelve Black-tailed Godwits were on the mud to the left along with a Greenshank and a Dunlin. The Greenshank and some or all of the Godwits had moved from by Cemetery Corner. Also more Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers were scattered around. Also among the hirundines at least one Swift was about. Marsworth had the usual Mandarin and Startops had a Yellow Wagtail. On the mammal front a Chinese Water Deer fawn ran across the overflow meadow and one came out onto the mud from the reeds to the right of the hide.

Alan Horsley -  (From Friday 22nd)  Hobby and Kingfisher at Tringford, Mandarin at Marsworth, Spotted Flycatcher family at Startopsend, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 1 Mandarin, 3 juv Shelduck, 2 Whooper Swans, Barnacle goose, Chinese Water Deer, at Wilstone 
Hobby by Alan Horsley


Mandarin by Alan Horsley




Spotted Flycatcher by Alan Horsley




Spotted Flycatcher by Alan Horsley
Whooper by Alan Horsley


• Saturday 23rd August 2014.
James Heron - A couple of pics from Wilstone.

Shelduck by James Heron
Whooper by James Heron. 
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was crisp again but very pleasant and a day when birds were on the move. However, most of the waders appeared to have stuck around. The thirteen Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpipers and six Common Sandpipers seemed rather familiar. The juvenile Shelduck were up to three. A Yellow Wagtail was mobile along the edge between the north corner and car park. Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler were in the vegetation in front of the hide. Tringford had three Red-crested Pochards on it, Marsworth had its usual Mandarin and a few Swifts with the hirundines. The paddocks and Startops had several mobile Yellow Wagtails moving from one to the other.


• Friday 22nd August 2014.
Phill Luckhust - After spending a while following cows around to try and photograph the Juvenile Starlings and Wagtails that seem to follow them around I popped down to Wilstone for last knockings of the light. From the old "Duck Feeding" area I had a wonderful surprise.
Avocet by Phill Luckhust

Avocet by Phill Luckhust

Sally Douglas -  Friday 22 August 2014 - 9.30-12.30. Had a very enjoyable walk round Wilstone with Richard Tomlin's U3A + Amersham Bird Club. All the recently observed waders were still present - 2 Dunlin on centre spit only viewable from the Jetty and an overflying Hobby. Could only get 6 of the 11 Black-tailed Godwits in pic and they were fairly distant.
Black-tailed Godwit by Sally Douglas

Black-tailed Godwit by Sally Douglas


• Thursday 21st August 2014.
Michael Nott - Viewed from hide 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.: 11 Black Tailed Godwit (half to left of hide, half to right - couldn't find all of Roy's 13!); 3 Common Sandpipers: 2 juv Shelducks; 1 Chinese Water Deer. Also some good views of Lapwings (stunning when seen close up) and a nice shot of a Grey Heron reflected in water. The Dunlin, when irst seen from the Car Park bank was resting and looked weary. It perked up and started feeding after 15 mins. Two buzzards and two kites squabbling high above to right of hide. One hobby seen - eventually. Most photos taken from some considerable distance and heavily cropped!
Black-tailed Godwit by Michael Nott

Chinese Water Deer by Michael Nott

Dunlin  by Michael Nott

Grey Heron by Michael Nott

Peewit  by Michael Nott

Whooper swan  by Michael Nott

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was crisp, fairly calm and sunny and had an autumnal feel to it. My first interesting sighting was a Reeves’ Muntjac trotting across a bare field  and a Fox also in the same field but at the other end. From the jetty two Green Sandpipers and the Greenshank were on the mud by the reeds and I could see three Black-tailed Godwits on the mud to the left of the hide. I walked round to the siphon and from there I scanned and could see seven Black-tailed Godwits and immediately wondered if that included the three I had seen from the jetty. David joined me and we walked along to try and see the other side of the ridge and we found four not three Black-tailed Godwits so we were up to eleven. This was a good total until six flew round from the other side and joined the seven so now we had thirteen, all juveniles, scattered around the mud. I also saw a Northern Wheatear drop from the top down to the edge but we couldn’t see it again and I saw it again as I walked to the hide and it was fairly co-operative as the photo testifies. Also about were six+ Common Sandpipers, a Snipe, two juvenile Shelduck and at least one Mandarin. It is also worth noting that the hedges have good number of Reed Warblers in them that are obviously passage birds.

Surely a Ruff will appear soon as the habitat is clearly suitable for waders!

P.S. there was also a 1st summer Female Peregrine round the back perched in a tree off by Drayton Beauchamp. It is presumably the birds that I saw recently over Wilstone.
Northern Wheatear by Roy Hargreaves

• Wednesday 20th August 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - I returned to Wilstone late this evening and things seemed slow from the hide. A Chinese Water Deer popped out briefly and we had a nice close visit from a Lapwing. A Wren also made a mistake and came right into the hide perching on the leaves by the door. Walking back to the car I stopped by the outflow as there was a lot of calling. This was from at least 17 Black Tailed Godwits flying around some of the little muddy islands looking for a nice place to land. Up high I think there were a few more. I've never seen this many at Wilstone before.
Lapwing by Phill Luckhurst


Michael Nott - From Wilstone Hide 7:30 to 10:30: Three Common Sandpipers to left of hide (see images). Three Black Tailed Godwit to far right of hide, relocating in part to left side of hide about 10am. Juvenile Shelduck cruising close to shore on left hand side of hide. Verbal report of a single hobby by birder
on car park bank (where have they been this year?) Other wildlife out in the open - Chinese Water Deer on three separate occasions, Twice to right of hide spending some tide on mud/grazing. Once to left. Muntjac deer appeared to right of hide where reeds meet tree line. A very emaciated fox made an appearance - very thin and scraggy with a virtually hairless tail. Not long for this mortal coil I fear.
Black-tailed Godwit by Michael Nott

Chinese Water Deer by Michael Nott

Common Sandpiper by Michael Nott

Common Sandpiper by Michael Nott

Fox by Michael Nott


• Tuesday 19th August 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - I started at Tringford today making the walk along the Wendover Arm, around Wilstone and back again. I normally walk this route armed with my macro kit to shoot bees but it seems this year numbers are really low, hopefully the late flowers will see bigger numbers. Tringford had 13 Little Grebe today, more than I have seen in a while. Along the dry canal I scared off a Woodcock in the undergrowth by the Whitehouses restoration works. Above a Buzzard was calling and circling throughout my walk. I also saw what I think was a Wheatear but it was a bit too distant to be sure. Wilstone there is not much more to report than Roy has already mentioned. A Hobby made a brief appearance but as dragonfly numbers are rising I hope more come to feed soon.
Deer by Phill Luckhurst

Little Grebe by Phill Luckhurst

Migrant Hawker by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - When I first arrived a large flock of Canada Geese was on the water and the Barnacle Goose was among them. Also an eclipse male Red-crested Pochard has presumably moved from Tringford and was near the spit that is reach out towards the jetty. A Mandarin was among the duck to the left of the hide. There had been some movement of waders since yesterday morning with four Black-tailed Godwits about – two juveniles on the left of the hide and a moulting adult and juvenile on the right. The Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpipers and 5+ Common Sandpipers and one or two Dunlin were still about.

Again a female and two young foxes were mobile by the reeds and four Chinese Water Deer were in the meadow by the overflow.

• Sunday 17th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - I watched the Barnacle Goose fly from the previously mentioned field toward College Lake at about 8:25 this morning. The new birds at the reservoirs this morning were four Ringed Plovers that were on a small island but didn’t linger. Having had my best views ever of a Sanderling at the reservoirs earlier this month today I had my worst views as one flew through heading out to the west.

• Saturday 16th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was much better weather than yesterday but still surprisingly productive. From the jetty two Green Sandpipers were by the reeds and two Common Sandpipers, with two in the corner by the old overflow. From the hide the two Shelduck, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and two Dunlin were still about. While in the hide two Ringed Plover flew in calling and settled on the mud for a few minutes before flying off and then a flock of seven Dunlin flew in and settled briefly in a few places before flying off. Little Egrets were everywhere and a couple of juveniles were about but looked too neat to be the local birds and the nest was still occupied by something but again obscured. Two eclipse male Mandarins were also about. Startops had the Barnacle Goose and it was quite obliging being on the right side of the reservoir for the light as it sat among the Greylags before flying on to the paddock. Marsworth had the usual eclipse male Mandarin on the bank.
Barnacle Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Mandarin by Roy Hargreaves

• Friday 15th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - North-westerly winds can be good for pushing waders towards the Chilterns and with dull weather at this time of year it can be very good. This morning as I walked down it rained fairly heavily so I headed for the hide, seeing a female Chinese Water Deer on the way. From the hide the 2 juvenile Shelduck, the Black-tailed Godwit, the Greenshank and a Dunlin were visible. Walking round to the car park steps I stopped and could see two of the Little Egret chicks perched above the nest and clumsily dropping back into it and there was a white blob in the nest but whether that was one or two chicks or an adult was impossible to say. Also from the overflow two Chinese Water Deer fawns were in the meadow. At the overflow I joined Steve Rodwell and we discussed the lack of dynamism in the waders. Scanning Steve noted a second Dunlin with the first by the hide. I thought I heard a Dunlin and Steve spotted a flock of eight Dunlin that flew round before heading off north. A Little later we heard Dunlin again and I spotted one flying round which ended up near the other two by the hide. We also had a Raven fly over heading towards Wilstone village. Continuing to the jetty I scanned from there and I could see 3 Green Sandpipers, 4 Common Sandpipers and a Water Rail along the edge of the reeds.

• Thursday 14th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I decided to cover all of the reservoirs to try and get a better look at the Barnacle Goose and see what else is around. From the Jetty the Barnacle Goose was with the Canada Geese at first before flying off by itself. Also from there three Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers and a Dunlin were visible and a Little Egret flew into the nest. By the hide the Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and two Shelduck were about as was a juvenile Water Rail and this Green Sandpiper, which seems to me to have a longer bill than normal. I also heard a Tawny Owl in the copse by the footpath down to the Farmshop.
Green Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves 

On the smaller reservoirs Tringford had three Red-crested Pochards and four Little Grebe chicks. Marsworth had the eclipse male Mandarin on the bank of the causeway. The Barnacle Goose was in the paddock visible from by the Marsworth emergency overflow with a small group of Greylags.

• Wednesday 13th August 2014.
Dave Hutchinson -  Wilstone is looking very good for waders. This afternoon there was Greenshank, BT Godwit, 2 x Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sand and good numbers of Lapwing.
Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit by David Hutchinson
Roy Hargreaves - This morning three Green Sandpipers were together walking along in front of the reed bed roughly where the Spotted Crake was last year. Several Common Sandpipers were scattered about and mobile. A juvenile Dunlin was on the central bank by the sluice. The Little Ringed Plover was in the corner and try as I might all I can see is a small patch of white where the Little Egret nest is. By the hide the juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and juvenile Greenshank were active and a juvenile Shelduck was also still about. One of the fields round the back had three Buzzards looking for carrion as it has been cut the previous day and two Red Kites were floating around too. Apparently the Barnacle Goose was on Marsworth this evening so it is definitely lingering. On the mammal front there was a Chinese Water Deer fawn in Rushy Meadow and three fawns and a female Chinese Water Deer in the meadow by the overflow.
Black-tailed Godwit by Roy Hargreaves

• Tuesday 12th August 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Wilstone today had little change to Roy's report from yesterday apart from the arrival of a Barnacle Goose mixed in with the Graylag flock. A pair of Hobby were occasionally showing and teasing us by flying directly over the hide. From the Plover hide 2 Kingfishers were feeding, there were 3 very young Moorhen chicks being hunted by a Hereon right in front of the hide. I have included a pic of the Heron as it shows nicely its third eyelid whipping across its eye. Just before I left a pair of Bulfinch arrived feeding in the bushes to the left.
Barnacle Goose by Phill Luckhurst

Grey Heron by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - This morning one Green Sandpiper on the Cemetery Corner mud and a moulting adult Black-tailed Godwit was straight out from the hide and there was a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit on the mud by the hide this evening. The Greenshank and two juvenile Shelduck were still present as was the Little Ringed Plover. Three Green Sandpipers were on the central bank and also three Common Sandpipers. Two Whoopers was stood in shallow water by the mud today. There is a wing of a Little Egret in the meadow behind the hide so obviously one has been predated recently. Steve saw the Barnacle Goose with Canadas this evening at Wilstone and then I saw it at dusk flying off from Startops with Greylags and landing in a field towards Long Marston and just south of the canal.

• Monday 11th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was breezy but at least it was dry. Cemetery Corner had two Green Sandpipers and two Common Sandpipers were on the central bank. While I was viewing a Dunlin on the central bank a Common Snipe flew over me. The Little Ringed Plover and Greenshank were on the mud by the old overflow and two Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper were by the hide. At least two juvenile Shelduck were still about and one of the Whooper Swans, that wander about from Wardown Park in Luton, was swimming about calling loudly.

• Sunday 10th August 2014.
Sally & David Douglas. Wilstone 1600.  Very distant photo's of a Black-tailed Godwit in the area right of the hide spit but taken across the water from near the new overflow! Dodging the heavy showers unfortunately made it impossible to walk round to the hide where good views would have been possible. Also a Dunlin fraternising with the Little-ringed Plover on the exposed mud near the overflow.
Black Tailed Godwit by Sally & David Douglas

Dunlin by Sally & David Douglas

Dunlin by Sally & David Douglas


Phill Luckhurst - Wilstone today seemed to have lots of waders today. In the usual corner by the old overflow was the Little Ringed Plover but today it was joined by a Dunlin. To the right of the hide as 2 Heron did battle 5 Snipe were flushed from the reeds. There were Common and Green Sandpiper feeding along the little stream and to the left of the hide were 2 Redshank along with the Juvenile Greenshank. While watching these there were a couple of panicked take offs first when a Buzzard flew over then just as everything became settled again a Peregrine shot through but quickly gave up its attack when mobbed by various gulls. What it did send up but I did not see it return was a Black Tailed Godwit that I had not noticed in amongst the Lapwing. Walking back I was surrounded by hundreds of Martins all feeding on insects blown up by the winds. Sat on the string of bales it was great to see a Black Tern albeit at a big distance.
View from the Drayton Hide by Phill Luckhurst

Greenshank by Phill Luckhurst

Johne Taylor - Violet Hellerborines now flowering in Bishops’ wood, Tring Park.

Roy Hargreaves -This morning in a brief visit to Wilstone I saw a family party of five Chinese Water Deer in the meadow by the new overflow – Ian told me about four in there yesterday so maybe they will stick there for a few days. The four juvenile Shelduck were still about as was the Greenshank and Little Ringed Plover. Yesterday I saw a (the) juvenile Mediterranean Gull in the paddocks with a flock of Black-headed Gulls.

• Friday 8th August 2014.
Sally & David Douglas - Friday 8 August Startops. Some rather distant photo's of the moulting adult Black Tern.  At Wilstone the L Ringed Plover, Com Sandpiper, Greenshank and Redshank.
Common Sandpiper by Sally & David Douglas
Juvenile Greenshank by Sally & David Douglas

Greenshank and Redshank by Sally & David Douglas

Little Ringed Plover by Sally & David Douglas

Common and Black Tern by Sally & David Douglas

Black Tern by Sally & David Douglas

Roy Hargreaves - A quick update. There is a moulting adult Black Tern at Startops this afternoon – still present 2:45 at least.

Roy Hargreaves - This morning two Green Sandpipers were on the mud in the Cemetery Corner, two or three Common Sandpipers were about, a Little Ringed Plover was on the edge between the car park steps and the overflow. The four juvenile Shelduck were still about and a juvenile Greenshank, which had flown round earlier was down to the left of the hide when I got there. Before that David Bilcock had got to scanning the gulls before I did and he picked out a juvenile Mediterranean Gull among the Black-headed Gulls which flew off before I got to the overflow and so eluded my camera.
Juvenile Greenshank by Roy Hargreaves

• Thursday 7th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I again started with Green Sandpiper on the mud by Cemetery Corner and from the jetty I could see a Common Sandpiper in the middle and the four juvenile Shelduck by the hide in the distance. Walking towards the north corner I saw this brown blob on a branch and was most surprised to see a Tawny Owl. It was more surprising when it stuck around long enough for me to sort my camera on to a high enough ISO setting and rattle off several photos. It then disappeared into the small wood by the steps down to Meads farm shop and cause the birds in there to go into a state of alarm. As usual David and I stood looking for flyover waders and heard a Redshank and I remarked that the last time that had happened a Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank had appeared a little later. Sure enough about five minutes later we heard and eventually saw a Greenshank flying round and it eventually settled on a barley bale. No doubt the Black-tailed Godwit will turn up later as they did yesterday. From the hide a Snipe and another Green Sandpiper could be seen as could the Shelduck, although the light was terrible so here is a photo from yesterday when it was dull.
Shelduck By Roy Hargreaves

Tawny Owl by Roy Hargreaves

• Wednesday 6th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning’s highlight from my perspective was a Peregrine. When I arrived at Wilstone the spit was empty and the Lapwing, Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns were all in the air. I wondered if a Fox had walked along the spit but when I heard the terns kicking up a fuss the reason for the panic became apparent as a juvenile female Peregrine was the centre of their attention and wandered off being pursued by one tenacious Common Tern.

Otherwise there were two Green Sandpipers and 2 or more Common Sandpipers about and the lone Little Ringed Plover was also on the mud towards the old overflow. The four juvenile Shelduck were also back and reasonably close to the hide. Steve Rodwell reported three Black-tailed Godwits later in the morning at Wilstone.

In Startops Wood the family of Spotted Flycatchers were vociferous and active when Rob and I walked back to our cars.

• Tuesday 5th August 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - Theoretically it was meant to be cold this morning, but clearly the weather hadn’t been told that. There was a thin layer of mist in the vale but this failed to reach Wilstone Reservoir. Before reaching the reservoir I saw my first Migrant Hawker of the year this morning flying along the hedge by the Dry Canal. A Green Sandpiper was in the now usual spot on the mud by the east corner. I approached the jetty with my usual caution as Common Sandpipers often by the depth gauge. This morning I was surprised to see a Kingfisher on top of it and even more surprised when it didn’t fly off. While standing with David Bilcock watching for flyover birds four juvenile Shelduck flew in and settled by the hide. Predictably they flew off into Bucks before I set off to the hide. Two or three Common Sandpipers were mobile about the reservoir and the one I photographed was on the wrong side of the hide for the light but still not bad. The two Mandarin were in the creek by the hide. Walking back towards home I had a pristine Red Kite circle overhead to make a change from the mostly scruffy birds that I’ve been seeing recently.
Kingfisher by Roy Hargreaves

Common Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves

Red Kite by Roy Hargreaves

• Monday 4th August 2014.
Michael Nott - Wandered round to the hide with Dave Hutchinson. Spit is very exposed and had lots of lapwings and Geese on it. About 20 metres of mud to left of hide. Lot of birds on the water. Dave spotted the attached Common Sandpiper on one of the tern rafts which it moved to the left had side of the spit. Juv LRP also on mud near Drayton Beauchamp corner on way to hide. Shot is heavily cropped. Good to see movement!
Common Sandpiper by Michael Nott

Little Ringed Plover by Michael Nott


• Sunday 3rd August 2014.
James Heron - Did a lap of Wilstone reservoir and couldn't find anything of interest, unless you want a Sandpiper pic?? [always love a sandpiper pic - ed]
Green Sandpiper by James Heron


• Saturday 2nd August 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - An interesting morning with the first surprise being a Turtle Dove sat on the roof of the cemetery entrance. By the time I had parked and got the camera out it flew off towards the trees in the corner of Wilstone. I also found 3 Green Sandpipers in the same corner. I then decided to get the macro gear out to photograph a very accommodating Speckled Bush Cricket.
Speckled Bush Cricket by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - At Wilstone this morning there was a juvenile Little Ringed Plover on the narrow mud fringe by the overflow, 2 Green Sandpipers on the mud by the east corner, 3+ Common Sandpipers scattered about, an eclipse male Mandarin by the hide and one immature Water Rail along the edge to the right of the hide. The causeway between Marsworth and Startop’s End had at least one Spotted Flycatcher calling in the trees.

• Friday 1st August 2014.
A Sanderling was reported this morning in the North corner of Wilstone, found by Steve Rodwell and photographed by Roy Hargreaves. Reported to have flown off early afternoon. Thanks also to Ben, Dave and others who got the word out quickly.
Sanderling (with fish) by Roy Hargreaves
Sanderling by Roy Hargreaves

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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.