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. 


Thursday 27th August 2015.
Mike Wallen - Wilstone, A good selection of birds around the reservoir this morning. Highlights were 2 Ruff on the bund in front of the hide. An adult Arctic Tern bashing around, occasionally on the bund. 10 + Common Sand, 5 Green Sand, 2 Little Ringed Plover, at least 1 Garganey (seen in flight only at distance ), Hobby and 2 Swift.


Tuesday 25th August 2015.
James Heron - Wilstone, everything seemed so dull and grey, so this flash of colour was a pleasant surprise!

Monday 24th August 2015.
Michael Stallwood - I visited Wilstone today, and although it was raining hard had good views of a Ruff from the hide, along with 1 Snipe, 5 Green Sandpipers and several Common Sandpipers. I also saw 2 Water Rail in the furthest reeds to the right of the hide. A Black Swan flew in and settled about 100 metres to the left of the hide.
Ruff by Michael Stallwood

Ruff and Snipe by Michael Stallwood

Ruff and Green Sandpiper by Michael Stallwood

Green Sandpipers by Michael Stallwood

Sunday 23rd August 2015.
Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) Adult female Lapwing ringed at Wilstone Reservoir Sunday 23rd August. As far as I know, first full grown Lapwing ringed at Tring Reservoirs Nature Reserve, although we have done nestlings in the past.
Lapwing by Emily Maynard-Smith

Sally Douglas - Wilstone am. This Greenshank seemed very puzzled by its reflection in the water, looking at it from all angles, or he could have just been thinking how smart he looked! A very distant Water Rail and I can't compete with Dave's brilliant Sandwich Tern pics but I have one of all 3 together, the one in the middle keeping a look-out! High point was at last seeing the Wood Sandpiper. 
Greenshank by Sally Douglas


Greenshank by Sally Douglas

Greenshank by Sally Douglas

Greenshank by Sally Douglas

Water Rail by Sally Douglas


Sandwich Terns by Sally Douglas


Dave Hutchinson - Good numbers of Waders at Wilstone this morning including Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Wood Sandpiper and three Ringed Plovers. At least two Garganey and three Sandwich Terns stayed around in the area close to the hide.
Garganay by David Hutchinson

Sandwich Terns by David Hutchinson

Sandwich Tern by David Hutchinson

Sandwich Tern by David Hutchinson

Saturday 22nd August 2015.
Sally Douglas, Wilstone am, First chance after returning from Cornwall to see the Wood Sandpiper but no luck. However, it was good to see one of the juv Little Egrets chasing an adult, begging for food. It did, eventually, get something. Difficult to see from photo's but has the youngster got yellow feet yet? Also, good views of the Water Rail, 5 Green Sandpipers and 2 Com Sandpipers. 
Little Egret by Sally Douglas


Little Egret by Sally Douglas

Little Egret by Sally Douglas



Peter Brazier - A Redshank was at Wilstone from the Drayton hide today. No sign of the Wood Sandpiper this afternoon although it had been reported earlier in the day. Also several Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers and 16 Little Egrets were in view at one point. Water Rail were visible at the end of the reedbed to the right of the hide. A lone Garganey dabbled it's way up the creek.
Common Sandpiper and Redshank by Peter Brazier

Thursday 20th August 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I started walking to Wilstone and it started raining so I delayed and went down by car. From the syphon I scanned the mud for waders brought down by the rain but at first I could see very little. I saw three small ducks stood together and the one that wasn’t asleep looked like a Garganey and one stood next to it briefly showed its head and also looked like a Garganey. I phoned David to make sure he would head to Wilstone and carried on watching the three ducks. Eventually they all showed their heads and all three were Garganey. David and I headed for the hide and got better views and then headed back to the car park. Scanning from the bank for the Wood Sandpiper I saw it land by the hide so headed back to the hide. The Wood Sandpiper was still visible from the hide as was  the adult Dunlin and the three Garganey were now to the right of the hide and a bit closer. There was certainly an eclipse male and other two bird could both have been juveniles or a female and a juvenile. Heading back to the car park the Wood Sandpiper was on the mud relatively close to the overflow but still more than 50 metres away. A quick visit to Marsworth and Startops had the Mandarin and female Red-crested Pochard still present.
Garganey by Roy Hargreaves


Wednesday 19th August 2015.
Francis Buckle - More like Cley or Titchwell this morning as alive with waders! Common Sandpiper. Green Sandpiper, juv Wood Sandpiper, Ad Dunlin, Ringed Plover all just in front of the hide See a few of my pics taken Canon Power Shot SX50 HS (how I wish I'd brought my SLR).
Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle

Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle

Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle

Dunlin and Ringed Plover by Francis Buckle


Tuesday 18th August 2015.
Graham Summerfield - Lunchtime walk around Wilstone on Tuesday.  Couple of pictures of a Ruff that was out on the mud down by the overflow.  Thought I saw the Wood Sandpiper from the hide, but alas alluded the camera lens.  A number of the Little White Egret around and a pair of Little Grebe's to the right of the hide.
Little Egret by Graham Summerfield

Ruff by Graham Summerfield

Ruff by Graham Summerfield

Ian Williams - Both ruff and wood sandpiper were still present approaching dusk tonight. Both birds had been briefly on the spit in front of the hide at about 7pm but both were chased off by lapwing. When I left the wood sandpiper was again at the furthest point of the reeds and the ruff to the left of the hide. After struggling to get photos of the sandpiper on Saturday having spent most of the day in the hide I managed to get it within about 50m of the hide and at one time it flew across in front of the hide and back, allowing me to get some shots at last!
Wood Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Wood Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Wood Sandpiper by Ian Williams

Phill Luckhurst - I had two visits to Wilstone today the first being before work. When I arrived 2 Ruff and 1 Black Tailed Godwit were in the shallows near cemetery corner but all flew off towards the middle quite quickly. When I returned just after 12, one of the Ruff was to the left of the hide along with a Greenshank but I could not locat the other nor the Godwit. Green and Common Sandpiper were scattered around the reservoir while the Wood Sandpiper was occasionally popping out of the reed bed to the right of the hide. The big surprise for me of the day was when walking up towards the dry canal I thought I saw a Bullfinch. It turned out to be a Male Redstart which was feeding in the hedgerow between two of the fields. Only fleeting views but great to see. Down a the wildflower meadow I stopped to photograph some moths. I found a couple of nice ones, a Brimstone Moth and one of a species that I do not know which had lovely silvery, almost clear, wings. As there were a couple of poppies just behind where they sat I managed to use them as a background.
Greenshank by Phill Luckhurst

Greenshank by Phill Luckhurst

Common Sandpiper by Phill Luckhurst

A bit of a  twitch! Wilstone regulars.

Brimstone Moth by Phill Luckhurst

Unknown by Phill Luckhurst


Francis Buckle -  Ruff and Wood Sandpiper at Wilstone this morning. First seen by Richard Woodhead as he left me to walk round to the hide and called me back!
Wood Sandpiper and Ruff by Francis Buckle

Ruff by Francis Buckle

Ruff by Francis Buckle

Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle

Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle


Wood Sandpiper by Francis Buckle


Monday 17th August 2015.
Michael Stallwood - Photo of Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and a Heron with a small pike it had caught. The Heron first caught the pike, then stabbed it, then took it to the bank and ate it. All photos taken from the Wilstone hide this morning.
Common Sandpiper by Michael Stallwood

Green Sandpiper by Michael Stallwood

Heron with Pike by Michael Stallwood

Phill Luckhurst - I popped to Marsworth today with the intention of trying to photograph terns but none were flying. Scanning the bales in both Marsworth and Startops I could only locate 3 terns so maybe I have left it a little late. I decided to see how the Kingfishers in the corner of Marsworth are getting on. On arrival a startled looking Water Rail was sitting on the fallen tree. As usual I was entertained by a Robin or two while waiting for the Kingfishers to show. I didn't need to wait long before a Juvenile Male landed too close for a shot. He then spent the next 20 mins darting from branch to branch before disappearing and returning with a small Perch for lunch. He seemed very unsettled constantly moving branch and looking for something though he didn't seem at all worried by my presence. A few minutes later I think the reason arrived, another Male intent on a game of chase. What a great experience as for about 10 minutes they were darting through the bushes all around me coming within inches at times. Eventually one of them had enough and the other sat looking smug on a nearby branch.
Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Sunday 16th August 2015.
David Hutchinson - The Wood Sandpiper was still at Wilstone Reservoir this morning. Initially it could only be seen on the far side of the water from the overflow. Luckily by the time I’d reached the hide it could be seen from there. Still quite distant but couple of record shots attached.
Wood Sandpiper (with Moorhen) by David Hutchinson

Wood Sandpiper by David Hutchinson


Saturday 15th August 2015.
Francis Buckle - Greenshank at Wilstone.
Greenshank by Francis Buckle

Greenshank by Francis Buckle

Thursday 13th August 2015.
Stuart Dennis - From Tringford hide a late brood of tufted duck, counted seven ducklings.
Tufted Duck by Stewart Dennis

Tufted Duck by Stewart Dennis

Tufted Duck by Stewart Dennis

Wednesday 12th August 2015.
Stewart Dennis - Heron with Pike just outside Wilstone Hide this afternoon around 2:30pm.
Heron with Pike by Stewart Dennis

Heron with Pike by Stewart Dennis

Heron with Pike by Stewart Dennis

Heron with Pike by Stewart Dennis

Heron with Pike by Stewart Dennis

James Heron - Wilstone Yesterday.
James Heron

James Heron

James Heron

Green Sandpipers by James Heron

Common Sandpiper by James Heron

Common Tern and Little Egret by James Heron

James Heron

Tuesday 11th August 2015.
Peter Brazier - A little off patch but Mike Campbell found a Pied Flycatcher on Pitstone Hill this morning. This is reported to be the first ever found on the Pitstone Hills and was showing well all morning.
Pied Flycatcher by Peter Brazier

Pied Flycatcher by Peter Brazier

Pied Flycatcher by Peter Brazier

Sunday 9th August 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Saturday morning the reservoirs briefly hosted a Greenshank that flew round calling but I couldn’t find it anywhere after that.
This morning I was time-constrained and so when I scanned and saw the Black-tailed Godwit was still in the creek at Wilstone Res I headed to the hide to try and get photos of it – mine aren’t as good as Dave Hutchinson’s that’s for sure. It is the same bird that subsequently relocated to Startops. While in the hide Ian and I heard a Greenshank but again couldn’t find it settled anywhere. I rang David and on his way to the hide he found a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the bank in front of the hide. It was barely visible from the hide but then joined the Black-headed Gulls to the right of the hide for a time before returning to the bank.
As is usual these days 10 or more Little Egrets were about and Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers were mobile and vociferous.
Green Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves

Mediterranean Gull by Roy Hargreaves


Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) - Autumn under way with 3 Lesser whitethroats,2 Garden warblers and 5 Willow warblers incl. one grey type adult. 109  individuals trapped plus 4 Daubentons bats and one deceased Water Shrew found on pathway. Water Rail in and out of hand as well as a male Emperor successfully extracted from net. Red Kites very noisy whilst the harvester  was working today. PS Crassula Helmsi still present and thriving.

Dave Hutchinson - Black-tailed Godwit at Startops this morning. I was told one had been seen at Wilstone earlier so may be the same bird. Kingfisher also seen on brief visit.

Juvenile Common Redstart along fenceline which runs parallel with the path from the main carpark towards the lower end. Spent most the time with a couple of Linnets and three Common Whitethroats 
Black-tailed Godwit by David Hutchinson


Common Redstart by David Hutchinson
Ian Bennell (@ianbennell75) - Black-tailed Godwit still showing pretty well at Startops Res!
Black-tailed Godwit by Ian Bennell

Thursday 6th August 2015.
Stewart Dennis -Chiffchaff family in hedge at Wilstone carpark this afternoon.
Stewart Dennis

Tuesday 4th August 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - On Saturday I did the reservoirs first thing with nothing out of the ordinary about and then went to look for White-legged Damselflies along the Aylesbury Arm of the canal between Puttenham and Wilstone. Having been warned that not too many had been seen I was pleasantly surprised to see about 20 along that section of the canal. There was also good number of Blue-tailed Damselflies and a few Brown Hawkers, Emperors and Migrant Hawkers.
On Sunday I was out too late to see the Sandwich Tern but managed to hear then see the Curlew.
On Monday there was nothing new bird-wise but I did manage to see a Small Red-eyed Damselfly at Startops. It is amazing to think how far this recent colonist has spread since it was first recorded in Britain in 1999.
Today looked like being another day when something other than birds would be the highlights and indeed the male Roe Deer that I saw before 6am gave me some of my best views ever and certainly my best photos, even allowing for the poor light. At Wilstone Reservoir Green Sandpiper numbers had crept up to five and three Common Sandpipers were about as well. At last one of the Little Egrets came in close to the hide today and although the light wasn’t ideal I was pleased to get this photo as it caught a fish and droplets of water went everywhere as it shook the fish before eating it. I also saw a Fox and two Reeves’s Muntjac so it really was a mammal day. I can’t wait to see a bird highlight for the autumn!
Blue-tailed Damselfly by Roy Hargreaves

Curlew by Roy Hargreaves

Roe Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Roe Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Little Egret by Roy Hargreaves

Small Red-eyed Damselfly by Roy Hargreaves

White-legged Damselfly by Roy Hargreaves


Monday 3rd August 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - A late visit to Wilstone for the evening sunshine with the macro gear only. Maybe that was a mistake as on arrival to the wonderful wildflower meadow I came across a Sparrowhawk devouring what appeared to be a Blackbird. It was completely nonplussed by my presence and determined to get its fill. Eventually she dragged it into the hedgerow to get some privacy from prying eyes. Just as frustrating photography wise, a Tawny Owl was sat in the nearby woods. The meadow is just past its best flower wise, but insect wise it is brilliant. I certainly hope the farmer keeps this going as with a bit of maturity it can only get better year on year. A lot of thought and effort has gone into it including the positioning of the bug hotel. It perfectly catches the morning sun, something the bees appear to need given my own experience from a tiny one in my garden. The one in my garden was attracting nothing but spiders in its first year until I moved it on a friends suggestion, now it is alive with bees. The one in the meadow had loads of shield bugs on it as well as some parasitic wasps. In the foliage next to it there were a few of what look like lacewing fly eggs though I may be wrong. On them a tiny parasitic wasp was depositing its own eggs. Sadly I couldn't get a shot as it was fascinating to watch. There was plenty more to see including many creatures I have yet to discover what they are.
Damselfly by Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst

Phill Luckhurst


Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) - We had a Curlew fly over around 7am calling going west. We ringed a third juvenile Marsh Tit along with good numbers of Reed wblrs and Blackcaps. I also came across some very small Sedge wblrs not long out of the nest, so the season seems to be behind a bit.

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 Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne Lambert

Marsh Warbler by Lynne 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

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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.