August 2016


Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome

Some have noticed that the water levels are not dropping as quickly as usual. The wet spring means there is good water supplies still and Wilstone only came off the weir level in July, more than a month later than normal.

30th August 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning started murky with low cloud cover and while walking round to the jetty a Tree Pipit flew overhead, roughly heading south-east and almost following the line of the path along that bank. On my walk back round to the car park I saw a Wheatear fly along the bank in front of me and it was fairly confiding when on the lower bank. Also at Wilstone was a Hobby, a female Red-crested Pochard, seven Little Egrets, two or three Common Sandpipers. Marsworth also had a Hobby, but otherwise I saw little else at the smaller reservoirs.
Last Thursday I saw a juv Arctic Tern at Startops  in both Herts and Bucks section, which I don’t think lingered and isn’t the bird shown on It may have flown over to Marsworth but I didn’t see it there.
Last Tuesday there was also a Redstart in the hedge by the new overflow that runs towards the road and also at least two Spotted Flycatchers in the same hedge.
I have also been seeing badgers on a reasonably regular basis before 6am as I walk down to Wilstone, which is always a treat.
Wheatear by Roy Hargreaves

18th August 2016.
Gary Hinton - Few from Wilstone on my camera phone today.
Thought that the one from the hide after the veg cutting would be interesting, then a bat came from the reed area to the right of the hide! I watched it for at least 5 minutes, feeding on insects & taking water, before it flew back right of the hide towards the reeds and trees. This was around 13:30! Wish I'd taken my  camera.
I spent the afternoon there, saw the following:
Water Rail screaming around 17:00, Reed Warbler, Around reeds willow tree crematory corner Yellow wagtail x 2 near steps to farm shop Little Egret x 6 Common Buzzard x 2 Red Kites Grey Wagtails x 2 Pied Wagtails numbers of juveniles Goldfinches Numbers of coot. Kingfisher passing in front of hide. Common Sandpiper X 3 moving around the mud areas around the hide.
Moorhen in numbers near reeds right of hide. At least 30 Lapwing on the spit.
Few Teal. I think I also saw some six pochard with maybe a red crested but it was to far away for my bins to call, they went behind trees far right of spit. Number of Heron.

4th August 2016.
James Heron -Wilstone Today.
Little Egret and Coot by James Heron

Coot with juvenile by James Heron

Small White Butterfly by James Heron

Ruddy Darter (male)

Hoverfly - Heliophilus Pendulus

Orange Spot Bee


Ruddy Darter (female)

Lapwing by James Heron

July 2016


Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome

Reminder: It is a criminal offence to disturb any nesting bird. 
Please be extra vigilant around the reservoirs during the breeding season. 

Fancy helping out?
We’ll be cutting back the reed in front of the hide at Wilstone Reservoir on 16th August 2016.
If you’d like to come along and lend a helping hand, please contact our Reserves Officer at 

Sunday 31st July 2016.

Dave Hutchinson -Wilstone Today. 
Southern Hawker by David Hutchinson

Hornet Mimic Hoverfly by David Hutchinson

Wednesday 27th July 2016.
Pat and Rob Stonier - Just thought you may like to know that, on Monday 25th July, we were walking from Little Tring along the Wendover arm,(Grand Union Canal), towards the silos at the mill.  
We turned down the steps on the footpath signposted Tringford Reservoir, just before the silos.  On these steps we saw 4 otter cubs who played on the steps at our feet for a couple of minutes before disappearing into the undergrowth to our left. They had come from the stream on the right.  
Unfortunately we didn't have a camera with us.

This was a once in a million experience which I doubt we'll ever see again, they weren't afraid of us, but we did stand very still watching in amazement at the cubs investigating my husband's shoes.  They showed no signs of being afraid of us.

A unique experience.

David Hutchinson - Emperor Dragonfly at Wilstone today. 
 Dragonfly by Dave Hutchinson

Sunday 24th July 2016.
David Hutchinson - Spotted Flycatcher this morning in trees bordering grassland behind hide at Wilstone Reservoir
Emperor Dragonfly by Dave Hutchinson

Songthrush by Dave Hutchinson

Spotted Flycatcher by David Hutchinson

Thursday 21st July 2016.

Sally Douglas - Attaching photo of the female Clouded Yellow at Pitstone Hill on 21 July. Amongst the 100's and 100's of butterflies in the glorious flower chalkland meadows, this was the only Clouded Yellow I saw.
Clouded Yellow Butterfly by Sally Douglas

Clouded Yellow Butterfly by Sally Douglas

Tuesday 19th July 2016.
James Heron - A few shots from a very hot Wilstone.
Grey Heron by James Heron

Barnacle Goose by James Heron

Grey Heron by James Heron

I have no idea, by James Heron

Barnacle Goose by James Heron

Barnacle and Greylag by James Heron

Tuesday 12th July 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - As far as I can tell none of the Oystercatcher young survived. The three Black-headed Gulls fledged, but still return to the nest at times, and the two Lesser black-backed Gull young have been swimming round quite some distance from the tern raft but also return to it. The young Little Egrets all seem to flying now and it looks like a good year for them.
The Barnacle Goose is still about and I frequently see it under or by the small bush between the large clumps of bushes directly out from the hide at Wilstone. I have also been seeing one or two Common Sandpipers about the reservoirs and a female Mandarin on Marsworth.
On Saturday I went along the Aylesbury Arm by Wilstone and managed to see the Scarce Chasers.
Today I found a dead immature gull by Wilstone jetty, with a BTO ring on it, and I have submitted the details to the BTO. I also saw a Little Owl by the Dry Canal again and also a Tawny Owl was revealed by mobbing birds by the Hide Meadow. The sunny weather first thing seemed to have triggered a mass emergence of Ruddy Darters and I must have seen more than forty along the hedges between the cressbeds and the Dry Canal.
Ruddy Darter by Roy Hargreaves

Scarce Chaser by Roy Hargreaves

Wednesday 6th July 2016.
Sally Douglas - Wilstone 28 June 2016 - not sure what the present news is of the Oystercatchers but took these very distant photo's of the raft occupants, and nesting Little Egrets, before dashing off to Scotland last week.
Oystercatchers by Sally Douglas

Oystercatchers by Sally Douglas

Oystercatchers by Sally Douglas

Little Egret by Sally Douglas

Little Egret by Sally Douglas

Wednesday 6th July 2016.
James Heron - Mostly insects from Wilstone. 

Common Blue Damselfly by James Heron

? Juv Chiffchaff? by James Heron

Ringlet by James Heron

Marble White and chums by James Heron

Marbled White and Meadow Brown by James Heron

Female Common Darter

Broad Bodied Chaser by James Heron

Broad Bodied Chaser by James Heron

Soldier Beetle by James Heron

Grey Wagtail by James Heron

June 2016


Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome

Grebe number 69 is now available in the Members Only section. 

Reminder: It is a criminal offence to disturb any nesting bird. 
Please be extra vigilant around the reservoirs during the breeding season. 

Tuesday 28th June 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was very pleasant – albeit it damp underfoot. The number of visible young Little Egrets continues to fluctuate and I could only see ten this morning. I couldn’t see the Black-necked Grebe, but it is known to skulk under the bushes in the middle. The tern raft held one young Oystercatcher, three young Black-headed Gulls and two young Lesser black-backed Gulls and a number of young Common Terns
Not a lot else of note although my statement about my last encounter with a Little Owl being unique appears to have been premature. This time it was closer and the light was better, but I didn’t get it all my own way as the light was best today when the Little Owl had foliage in front of it. Even so it would be churlish to complain too much as today’s photos surpassed my last encounter’s results. 
Little Owl by Roy Hargreaves

Little Owl by Roy Hargreaves

Sunday 26th June 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - Having failed to see the Black-necked Grebe on Wilstone early afternoon, despite what seemed like a thorough search, I popped back again this evening to see it was visible. 
On the earlier visit I counted at least thirteen young Little Egrets, they have been slowly been increasing in number this week as more make themselves visible. I also saw a Common Sandpiper on a shooting butt.

This evening as well as the Black-necked Grebe showing between the rows of barley bales, two Hobbies were hawking insects among the numerous Common Terns. So the grebe was still present at 20:30 at least.

Some pictures from James Heron. 
Emerald Damselfly by James Heron

Goldfinch on the canal by the flour mill by James Heron

Moorhen Chick on the canal by the flour mill by James Heron

Tringford Family by James Heron

Greylag family by James Heron

Oystercatcher at Wilstone by James Heron

Mallardish by James Heron

Worn out Robin (ticks?) by James Heron

Tuesday 21st June 2016.
Sally Douglas - I very rarely walk along the canal behind Marsworth Reservoir so it was nice to see that breeding is in full swing! Also seen were pair of Mute Swans and 5 cygnets, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat and a Red Kite carrying something being pursued by several crows.
Moorhen and chicks by Sally Douglas

Linnet by Sally Douglas

Linnet by Sally Douglas

Mallard and chicks by Sally Douglas

Monday 20th June 2016.
David Hutchinson - Swallow at startops today.
Swallow by David Hutchinson

Monday 14th June 2016.
Lynne Lambert (Tring Ringing Group) - The tit boxes at the TWTW reserve have told a sorry tale this year. I checked them last Saturday and of the 6 boxes there, one was not used, one held a large clutch of very small dead blue tits that had been dead a few weeks, three other boxes all held small broods of dead great tits that had died very recently just before fledging and only one box had chicks still alive – a small brood of three blue tits with a fourth dead in the box.
The previous week had been very cold and wet and no doubt the weather meant the adults could not find enough food for their chicks. Broods which managed to fledge before the weather turned nasty may have survived better, but I do not expect to see many parties of juvenile tits around the reservoirs this year.

Friday 10th June 2016.
Sally Douglas - Had a search around Startops for Yellow Wagtails but only saw a pair of Grey's. The female looked as if she still had a brooding patch. Went on to Wilstone to try for a Spotted Flycatcher - also no luck but nice to see Barnacle - will try and see Scoter next week. Cuckoo still calling at the back and a Yellowhammer singing his heart out - he did have a left foot! 
Barnacle Goose by Sally Douglas

Yellowhammer by Sally Douglas

Grey Wagtail by Sally Douglas

Grey Wagtail by Sally Douglas

Grey Wagtail by Sally Douglas

Grey Wagtail by Sally Douglas

Thursday 9th June 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning it was misty in Tring, but for a change as I walked down to Wilstone Res it wasn’t as misty down there. As I walked along the Dry Canal a Little Owl flew away from me to the other side of the canal, but as I approached it surprisingly didn’t fly off. It just sat there and looked at me. I spent a long time taking photos as this seemed like a unique opportunity. It did move eventually but I didn’t seem to be the cause and when I walked to where it was it stayed put and I took more photos and indeed I left it sat there as I resumed my walk. Between the Waddesdon Estate Gate and Cemetery Corner there was a Spotted Flycatcher calling and perched on top of a smallish tree/bush. It would seem that there could be as many as three pairs round the reservoir – although I have only seen a definite pair at Startops. By the hide I heard but didn’t see Spotted Flycatcher and also a family party of Treecreepers.
What was also interesting for me was hearing and seeing a Reed Warbler at Miswell Farm in the hedge above the Dry Canal on my way home – a fairly long way from the reservoir and theoretically not on passage. 
Little Owl by Roy Hargreaves

Monday 6th June 2016.
Johne Taylor - Lesser black-backed sitting tight as is a Black-headed it seems I counted a minimum of 20 terns  also looking intent on breeding The Oystercatchers are feeding young without doubt. Several juvenile Chiffs Robins Dunnocks and Long tailed tits caught Sunday  

Monday 6th June 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - On Sunday afternoon the highlight of the WeBS count was not wildfowl but a large number of raptors. I counted at least 25 Red Kites and five or more Buzzards over the field round Wilstone Res as the meadows were being cut. Wildfowl was it was unexciting but interesting to note that Lesser Black-backed Gulls appear to be nesting on one tern raft. I what looked like a young Oystercatcher on another tern raft – although the view wasn’t good.
Also Yellow Wagtails are breeding near Startops and there is a vocal Spotted Flycatcher by the hide and in the nearby meadow at Wilstone Res. I can hear the flycatcher and usually see it when I am there in the mornings.

Thursday 2nd June 2016.
Phill Luckhurst - The horrible weather bought the usual masses of Swift, Swallows and Martins to all the reservoirs today. I sat at Startops and Tringford trying hard to get some decent shots of them in the poor light but is was hard work. Fantastic fun to watch them, especially with the occasional visits from Hobby trying to grab one. I think it succeeded on one attack run but it was a bit too distant to see what it grabbed.
House Martin by Phill Luckhurst

Pied Wagtail by Phill Luckhurst

Sand Martin by Phill Luckhurst

Swift by Phill Luckhurst

The strong winds were washing up a lot of foam and weeds on Startops. This seemed to be great for the Wagtails, both Grey and Pied, along with the House Sparrows which seemed to be finding loads of insects in the detritus. I wonder if anyone can tell what the insects in the sparrows beak is? This seemed to be what they were mainly feeding on in the rocks.

House Sparrow by Phill Luckhurst

 Over at Tringford the firs thing I notices was a Black Swan. The Mute Swans seemed to be aggressive towards it when it got a bit close to them but otherwise it seemed to be enjoying its visit. While trying to photograph the House Martins I could hear a lot of noise from the gulls above. This was due to the arrival of a Marsh Harrier who was seemingly being mobbed by every gull at Tringford. It didn't stay long and headed towards Wilstone when I lost sight of it.

Black Swan by Phill Luckhurst

Marsh Harrier by Phill Luckhurst