August 2015

  

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

The vegetation in front of the hide at Wilstone has grown more than usual this year and is obstructing views. This cannot be cut back until August at the earliest as it is known there are ground nesting birds such as chiffchaff, willow warbler and wren are still in there. HMWT are going to take a look to see how soon it can be cut back. 


Sunday 2nd August 2015.
Lynne Lambert - During the second net round Chris took a bird out of net M that we assumed was a Reed Warbler although we discussed how it was unusual to get this species in one of the “woodland nets” and that it was possibly a migrating bird, and it was! Katy took the bird out of the bag and read the ring number 7008939 – no starting letters, it was a French ring. We were quite excited at catching a foreign bird and at this point we still thought it was a reed warbler. It was carrying some fat (F3) and was obviously an adult bird from the wear on the feathers. The wing measured 68mm and Colin said, “it’s a long wing” and I was looking at it thinking it looked more like a Garden Warbler in colour and then it dawned on us that it could be a Marsh Warbler.
We checked the notch and it was just under 10mm, it was looking good. We ran through the other ID features: olivey mantle, yellowish rump, the tips of the inner primaries were not exactly tipped white but they looked like they could have been earlier in the year, and the hind claw was noticeably pale grey and short compared to a reed warbler.
The notch/wing ratio was 9.5/68 = 0.140, well within the Marsh Warbler limits.
And finally the emargination on P3 was well outside the secondaries. Definitely a Marsh Warbler.
We took some photos and released it at 6.40am, when it flew off strongly.
Measurements:
Wing 68mm
Weight 12.7 (Fat 3)
P2 notch 9.5mm
1st S < tip of wing (primary projection) 19mm

So that is a new species for the reservoirs bringing us up to a total of 107.
Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Colin Lambert


Roy Hargreaves - That is a great record and the photos are very instructive. Is the bird’s age known? The aligned growth bars on the tail might suggest 2nd calendar year unless it has lost its whole tail accidentally in the past year. I think it is the 4th ever record for the reservoirs and as well as being the first for Marsworth I assume it is also the first not to be found singing. It is also an interesting date for one to turn up.

Lynne Lambert - We had a Marsh Warbler this morning at Marsworth and one wearing a French ring. It was trapped, measured and released around 6:30am and found to be an adult and carrying some fat.
Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Katherine Bennett (Tring Ringing Group) via twitter @eowynk - Marsh Warbler adult with french ring caught and processed by me :)
Marsh Warbler - Marsworth Reservoir

________________________________________________________________________________
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.

July 2015

  

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

The vegetation in front of the hide at Wilstone has grown more than usual this year and is obstructing views. This cannot be cut back until August at the earliest as it is known there are ground nesting birds such as chiffchaff, willow warbler and wren are still in there. HMWT are going to take a look to see how soon it can be cut back. 


Friday 31st July 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - A late visit to Wilstone saw a Green Sandpiper on the Jetty but little else of note. In the meadow were plenty of butterflies and bees including a few Carder Bees sleeping on various plant stems. A few hours later I popped over to Pitstone to photograph the blue moon and the mill. I didn't manage to get a decent shot with them both in the frame but the moon did light the mill nicely.
Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst


James Heron - Wilstone this afternoon.
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar by James Heron


Green Sandpiper by James Heron

Green Sandpiper by James Heron

Little Egret by James Heron

Juvenile Lapwing by James Heron

Green Sandpiper by James Heron

Black Swan by James Heron

Sunday 26th July 2015.
Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) - Another Juvenile Marsh Tit this am in company with the bird caught on Wednesday. Willow warbler singing in the orchard early on and a Hobby over the reedbed at 4ish.

Ian Williams - As expected no sign of the pectoral sandpiper at Startops today, only an oystercatcher first thing. Wilstone held 3 common sandpiper, a green sandpiper and a redshank which flew off about 8.30. Later in the rain Steve picked up a flock of 4 redshank which flew off south east. Some of shots from yesterday of the Pectoral Sandpiper.

Pectoral Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Pectoral Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Pectoral Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Saturday 25th July 2015.
Sally Douglas -  25 July 2015 Startops Attaching some photo's of the Pec Sand at Startops this afternoon. A very enjoyable late afternoon/evening gathering of local birders watching the Pectoral Sandpiper.

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Pectoral Sandpiper by Sally Douglas




Peter Brazier - A small twitch broke out this afternoon when a Pectoral Sandpiper was reported on Startopsend Reservoir by an unknown reporter on RBA. It was feeding quietly amongst some Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns on the mud in the southernmost corner of the reservoir. Some record shots attached.
Pectoral Sandpiper by Mike Campbell

Pectoral Sandpiper by Peter Brazier

Pectoral Sandpiper by Peter Brazier

Pectoral Sandpiper by Peter Brazier

Wednesday 22nd July 2015.
Johne Taylor, Tring Ringing Group - We ringed a very juvenile Marsh Tit yesterday at Wilstone which proves that they have successfully bred on the reserve or very nearby .

Tuesday 21st July 2015.
James Heron - Some shots from Marsworth this morning.
Reed Warbler by James Heron

Immature Great-crested Grebe by James Heron

Bad Hair Day by James Heron

Common Tern with a catch by James Heron

Moorhen by James Heron

Monday 20th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Little new to report. One or two Common Sandpipers on Wilstone and one on Startops. There was a co-operative Green Sandpiper to the left of the hide at Wilstone that was about as close as it could get without being obscured by vegetation. It was also a different bird from the one I photographed previously. There was still a Mandarin on the Marsworth bank with the Mallard and most, if not all, of the young Little Egrets have fledged and are certainly mobile round Wilstone.
Green Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves


Sunday 19th July 2015.
Wilstone Little Egret by Doug. 

Wilstone by Doug. 


Lynne & Colin Lambert - We had a good walk around Wilstone this morning, highlight being a peregrine flying low around the bushes on Drayton Bank. We also saw approximately 20 Little Egrets and then strolled around Mead’s Meadow. This is the field below the bank at Wilstone that the Meads have sown with wildflower seeds and have opened up to the public. As you can see from the photos it is looking great and has loads of butterflies, hoverflies and damselflies. I think they should be congratulated for making such a positive contribution to the area.
Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert

Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert

Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert

Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert

Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert

Mead's Meadow by Lynne Lambert



Saturday 18th July 2015.
Howard Clarke - Chinese Water Deer heard, but not seen about 1630 on Saturday 18/07/15  in woods by footbridge over stream below Heygates New Mill.  Strange noise!

Sarah Murtagh - Some shots from Startops today.
Greylag by Sarah Murtagh

Canada Goose by Sarah Murtagh

Comma by Sarah Murtagh


Sunny Day by Sarah Murtagh

Someone too lazy to use the bin by Sarah Murtagh


Mute Swan drinking by Sarah Murtagh

Mute Swan by Sarah Murtagh

Roy Hargreaves - Yesterday the forecast for Sunday had predicted heavy rain for most of the day so I decided to do a quick whizz round and then go back round again doing the WeBS count. Combining the two tours together at Wilstone there was a Common Sandpiper that spent most of its time on the central bank, a Green Sandpiper eventually appeared on the mud between the hide and the old overflow and five Little Ringed Plovers were on the spit in front of the hide and could be seen from the left hand side of the hide occasionally. There was an eclipse male Red-crested Pochard asleep among the Mallards in the middle and more of the young Little Egrets have been venturing away from the bushes onto the bank and mud. I counted 18 Little Egrets today including the juveniles. Buzzards and Red Kites were frequenting the recently cut meadow by the west corner of Wilstone.
The highlight at Wilstone was a female Lesser Emperor ovipositing by the small patch of reeds in the west corner. It is only the second I have seen at Wilstone and clearly there might be a male about too.
Marsworth has a Mandarin on the bank with the Mallard and while I was there a Siskin flew over. Startops had a female Red-crested Pochard with the Mallard and Tringford had a Mandarin and lots of Tufted Duck ducklings as well as the two young cygnets.

Thursday 16th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This is possibly the same Greenshank that I saw yesterday on Startops Res. There wasn’t much else new to report yesterday or early this morning.
Lucy Flower - Wilstone: The Greenshank was feeding along the shallows of the SW shoreline this morning until at least 11:30am. At about that time, I was walking to the hide, along the wooded path, and heard it calling and flying south. After that, I couldn't find it again but it could well have flown to the reedbed area. 
Wednesday 15th July 2015.
Sally Douglas - Wilstone early morning, murky and drizzle which had kept people and dogs away so that a family party of Greylags and goslings were still feeding on grass at the top of the steps. On the water a stunning sight of a flock of 100 Greylags. From the hide 3 Little Ringed Plovers and lots of birds on the Spit which are getting difficult to spot through the foliage! Including a Little Egret and Juv. Black-headed Gull. One Green Sandpiper in the distance so not a very good pic of it. Beautiful dewy cobwebs in the Wilstone wall scrub and Rosebay Willowherb. On the way back a flock of Greylags flew in. 
Greylag Geese by Sally Douglas

Greylag Geese by Sally Douglas

Little Ringed Plover by Sally Douglas

Little Ringed Plover by Sally Douglas

Little Egret by Sally Douglas

Juv. Black Headed Gull by Sally Douglas

Green Sandpiper by Sally Douglas

Dewey Cobweb by Sally Douglas

Rosebay Willowherb by Sally Douglas

Sunday 12th July 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - With the remnants of sunstroke from yesterdays visit to Rainham Marshes I thought I would just do a quick visit to Tring but ended up out for many hours. I started at Startops where the Spotted Flycatcher family were in fine voice but rarely visible. An Oysertcatcher was flying around as was as Common Sandpiper but they seemed unsettled. Maybe this was because a few people tried walking out on the soft mud only to get a shoe full while scaring everything off.

Marsworth had all the usual suspects but today there did seem to be more young Great Crested Grebe's than usual. Good to see how successful they have been in recent years.

Wilstone was next on my list and a visit with the macro gear to the superb wild flower meadow the farmer has created. He really has to be commended for his efforts there. It would be nice if the powers that be would take a note out of his book and leave the banks of the reservoirs alone to create a similar haven for insects and plant life. Down in the meadow there were many Bees and a few species of Wasp that I have never seen before.

After a few hours there I popped over to the Wendover Rag Pits which are currently a dream for the macro photographer. There are so many butterflies and day flying moths there at the moment that you cannot fail to enjoy it. It is always interesting to see how the species of insect there change so much as spring leads into summer and then Autumn.


Saturday 11th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Yesterday a juvenile Little Egret was close in to the footpath along the south-west facing bank. This bird is clearly older than the ones in the central bushes. On Wilstone two Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper were all the waders apart from the Lapwing flock. Also yesterday in the sun the family of four Spotted Flycatchers were active but quiet at Startops
This morning was certainly a contrast weather-wise. The central bushes was still heaving with Little Egrets, a truly wonderful sight. Watching an adult come in to be mobbed by four nestlings was something that will hopefully be repeated many times in future years. I could only see one Green Sandpiper and one adult Little Ringed Plover, but more could have been around. I also saw a juvenile Common Tern which was presumably from College Lake.
The spectacle of the morning was a massive juvenile female Peregrine that flew in optimistically hassling a Cormorant. It then broke off from that and disappeared round taller bushes to where the Little Egrets are. The expectation was that it would reappear clutching a white bundle of feathers, but when it did appear it wasn’t carrying anything. It was then mobbed by Common Terns and appeared to fly into a tree. What was interesting is when I walked to the steps to leave I couldn’t see a single Little Egret in the bushes – they had clearly sought cover when they saw the Peregrine.
A brief visit to the smaller reservoirs yielded an Oystercatcher and a Little Egret on Startops.
Little Egret by Roy Hargreaves


Saturday 11th July 2015.
Richard Bennett - Marsworth this morning. 
Mandarin by Richard Bennett

Robin by Richard Bennett

Friday 10th July 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - A late visit for me today but an interesting one. The Spotted Flycatchers are very busy feeding their young at Startops as are numerous other birds. It is always good to see a young Robin before it gets its colours and there were a few about today. I popped into the corner of Marsworth to see the Kingfishers and also had a Water Rail run through at a high rate of knots. 
Over at Wilstone Little Egrets seemed to be everywhere but only a few Herons were about. A Common Sandpiper was flying around calling loudly as did a single Oystercatcher. Insect activity was amazing with the DragonfliesButterflies and Damsels out in huge numbers but there didn't seem to be as many Bees as usual for this time of year.
Spotted Fly Catcher by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Robins by Phill Luckhurst

Grey Heron by Phill Luckhurst

Grey HEron by Phill Luckhurst





Roy Hargreaves - My highlight today was having a Pygmy Shrew scurry across the path in front of me. From by the Cemetery Corner the surprise was seeing four distinct groups of Little Egret nestlings and I was able to make twelve in total, which is brilliant. In my opinion the earlier sightings of fledged juveniles were birds from elsewhere. Otherwise the sunny weather has meant fewer waders and I could only see one Little Ringed Plover today, but may have missed others of course.
Also the swan family were under the footbridge still this morning.  
Great Spotted Woodpecker by Roy Hargreaves. 


Thursday 9th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning  Was back to sunny after two dull mornings. Two Chinese Water Deer were in Rushy Meadow as I walked down to Wilstone. From Cemetery Corner I could see nine Little Egret nestlings – 2, 3 and 4 – in the central bushes. I only saw one Common Sandpiper, one Little Egret, Mandarin and five or six adult Little Egrets. On the way home a family of Mute Swans were under the footbridge on the canal – presumably having swum along from further down. 
Mute Swans by Roy Hargreaves

Wednesday 8th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - With rain forecast overnight I was again hopeful and I even tried this evening. This morning a Green Sandpiper was on the mud to the left of the spit and very close to the hide – although vegetation prevented me from taking better photos of it. Four Little Ringed Plovers were again on the spit and three Common Sandpipers and an Oystercatcher were typically mobile and vocal. The Mandarin was still about and 5+ Little Egrets were on the mud and nestlings were getting more mobile and harder to see in the central bushes.
Marsworth had the eclipse male Mandarin and Startops had a Common Sandpiper and a Spotted Flycatcher just as a heavy shower came down and it beat a hasty retreat.

For those who use Twitter to keep informed @Tringbirds is unlikely to be updated for the next two weeks as its owner is away. Personally I don’t use Twitter yet but I know that some people think it is sufficient as a means of communication. 
Green Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves


Monday 6th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I counted eight nestling Little Egrets in three nests in the central bushes – best viewed from Cemetery Corner. Also seven Little Egrets on the mud or flying into the nests. One or more Common Sandpipers were mobile as usual. I also saw a Hobby flying into what looks like a nest in a tree on the other side of the B489. The family of Little Ringed Plovers were still on the spit. While in the hide at 7:15 I heard a Greenshank and walking back round to the bank it was on the mud between the hide and the old overflow and so may linger. Having been unable to send or receive texts yesterday and my phone battery die part way round this morning was a bit frustrating – hopefully better luck tomorrow and I can get news out earlier. Walking back home it was obvious that Ruddy Darters have emerged as I saw at least three and also a Fox by the hide would have been a great photo if I hadn’t been by the overflow when I saw it.

James Heron - Wilstone this afternoon. 
James Heron

James Heron

Little Ringed Plovers by James Heron

Little Egret by James Heron


Little Ringed Plovers by James Heron


Mallards by James Heron

Greenshank by James Heron

Greenshank and Lapwing by James Heron


Sunday 5th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I arrived at Wilstone and a quick scan from the syphon produced an adult Black-tailed Godwit on the spit in front of the hide and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers. The Black-tailed Godwit seemed settled but then flew round and landed on the spit again. While I was completing my scan it must have flown off as it was gone the next time I looked a few minutes later. Further scans revealed four Little Ringed Plovers on the spit – two adults and two juveniles. From the hide they could sometimes be seen on the extreme left side of the spit. Otherwise six Little Egrets, including a juvenile, were on the mud and 3+ nestlings were still in the bushes. Two Oystercatchers were on the jetty and a Common Sandpiper was mobile. Marsworth had Cetti’s warbler and male Mandarin as yesterday but Tringford had a Common Sandpiper
Little Ringed Plover by Roy Hargreaves

Francis Buckle - Photo's I took at College Lake June 6. Broad Bodied Chaser male and female in flight ovipositing and mating Common Blue Damselfly. 
Common Blue Damselfly by Francis Buckle

Common Blue Damselfly by Francis Buckle

Common Blue Damselfly by Francis Buckle

Broad Bodied Chaser male by Francis Buckle

Broad Bodied Chaser male by Francis Buckle

Broad Bodied Chaser female by Francis Buckle

Common Blue Damselfly by Francis Buckle


Saturday 4th July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - The overnight rain led to a murky start to the day and so my hopes were high when I arrived at Wilstone. Having checked the banks and not even seen a Common Sandpiper I was beginning to wonder. At 6:20 a Whimbrel flew through calling so my optimism wasn’t misplaced. Wilstone also had a Mandarin and seven adult Little Egrets were about as well as 4+ Little Egret nestlings.
Marsworth had singing Cetti’s Warbler and an eclipse male Mandarin and three Oystercatchers flying round over the paddocks. Startops had only one Little Ringed Plover and I heard a Spotted Flycatcher but didn’t see it.
College Lake also had a Mandarin along with a family of LRPs (3 juvs), Oystercatchers and Redshank. Emperor Dragonflies, Four-spotted Chasers, Azure Damselflies, Black-tailed Skimmers and Common Blue Damselflies were active. Butterflies included Marbled Whites, Small Skippers and my first Gatekeepers
Four-spotted Chaser by Roy Hargreaves

Small Skipper by Roy Hragreaves

Sarah Murtagh - I have had no camera for the last week or so, so first thing I did when it returned was nip to the Plover hide this morning. Saw a heron having breakfast, a baby moorhen, lots of mallards and a few young reed warblers.  
Grey Heron by Sarah Murtagh

Grey Heron by Sarah Murtagh

Grey Heron by Sarah Murtagh

Reed Warbler by Sarah Murtagh

Reed Warbler by Sarah Murtagh


Thursday 2nd July 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was very pleasant, being cooler than yesterday. As I walked down two Reeves’s Muntjac were in the recently cut meadows adjacent to Rushy Meadow. Just as I reached Wilstone Reservoir two Egyptian Geese flew off towards the smaller reservoirs calling as they went. By the jetty two remaining Little Egret nests had at least four nestlings in them and five birds were round the muddy fringes. An eclipse male Mandarin was perched on branches just above the water and a Common Sandpiper was also perched on a branch. I saw a Common Sandpiper and three Little Ringed Plovers, including a juvenile, on Startops yesterday where there is plenty of mud. The resent heat has also brought out insects and Common Blue Damselflies, Darters and Black-tailed Skimmers were by the hide and the meadow had Large Skippers, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshells and Meadow Browns and a Fox was in one the meadows in place of the Muntjac. The heat also meant that Red Kites and Buzzards were in evidence early on. 
Collared Dove by Roy Hargreaves

Common Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves

Skipper by Roy Hargreaves

Ringlet by Roy Hargreaves

Fox by Roy Hargreaves

Small Tortoiseshell by Roy Hargreaves

________________________________________________________________________________
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.