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WE NEED YOUR WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS PLEASE
Any and all wildlife. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome.
Notice from the Canal and River Trust: As part of the Tringford Pumping Station major works project we will be undertaking surveys on the headings running from Wilstone, Startops, Marsworth and Tringford Reservoirs to the pumping station. These surveys are due to commence Monday 27th January and will last approximately 2 weeks. For this to take place Kier, and their subcontractor Water Services Support Group, will have 5 tonne tracked vehicle on the reservoir headbanks, as well as a small boat on the reservoirs. They will be using a remote vehicle to enter the headings, and should not be carrying out any diving works. (See updates 30th Jan, 6th Feb below)
• Friday 7th March 2014.
I started really early today up at Miswell Lane hoping to see the Little Owl that Roy Hargreaves keeps spotting but sadly no joy, I must be looking in the wrong tree. What I did see however was a Sparrowhawk down by the wooden footbridge. On the dry canal I also spotted a Marsh Tit. I then headed over to the Plover hide. There were at least 6 Bullfinch and 2 pairs of Long Tailed Tits darting back and forth with nesting material. Overhead at various times were Red Kites, a Buzzard and the biggest flock of Wood Pidgeon I have seen in a long time.
By 12ish the sun was coming out and I was getting hungry, so I pooped off for food then decided to see if the Kingfishers were active in the Corner of Marsworth. I carefully climbed down and was instantly greeted by the usual friendly Robin. I was so fixed on the Robin I almost missed a large creature moving on the fallen tree to the right. It was one of those second take moments when you are not sure if you are seeing things. It was an Otter, without any doubt. Probably a meter long and obviously it hadn't seen me. I dare not move a muscle as it cleaned its feet. It then entered the water and swam right towards me. It must have been 4 feet away when it saw me and panicked making a huge splash as it dived down into the depths.
I've often seen Mink here before but this was a really special moment. The big splash flushed out another Sparrowhawk from the opposite bank. The owners of that lock house must have a great time. All went quiet for quite a while after that but the pair of Kingfishers did show up flying past many times but only landing briefly on each run through. Back on Startops the Pipit was still about but one of the Black-headed Gulls seemed intent on giving it hassle. (Phill Luckhurst)
Editors note: This is now the third reported sighting of Otter in this corner of Marsworth.
|Tufted Duck by Phill Luckhurst|
|Reed Bunting by Phill Luckhurst|
|Mallard by Phill Luckhurst|
|The friendly Robin by Phill Luckhurst|
|Mallard by Phill Luckhurst|
This morning I did all of the reservoirs for a change. At Wilstone I saw two Oystercatchers chasing off a Carrion Crow from the tern rafts so it looks like they are set for another breeding attempt this year. Let’s hope they are more successful than last year if they do. The Water Pipit was in the jetty area and the pair of Pintail that I saw yesterday were visible in the middle of the reservoir. There was a Chiffchaff singing loudly by the hide and two Kingfishers were chasing after each other all over the reservoir. Tringford had six Red-crested Pochard on it with a very pale female among them. Marsworth had another Chiffchaff singing loudly in the trees behind the reeds at the southern end of the reservoir. (Roy Hargreaves)
• Thursday 6th March 2014.
Not a great deal to report from Startop's or Marsworth mid-afternoon. I didn't manage Tringford and only popped into Wilstone to see if the Pink-footed Goose was amongst the Greylags (it wasn't). Still, the Water Pipit was ranging along the Bucks section of Startops, there were at least 2 Grey Wagtails about and 7 Common Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gull flock. The Water Pipit is the original bird (with the nick in the lower left eye-ring) and is obviously well into its pre-breeding moult. The Wigeon were grazing on the NW bank of Wilstone. (Lucy Flower)
|Water Pipit at Startops by Lucy Flower|
|Wigeon at Wilstone by Lucy Flower|
• Wednesday 5th March 2014.
At this time of year I like to walk down to Wilstone reservoir while it is still dark to get there for first birding light. This morning this allowed me to see a Tawny Owl about 5 metres away from me before it decided that was too close. There was an Oystercatcher on the jetty this morning and also the Water Pipit was in that area. Two Goldeneye were by the reeds and a Chiffchaff was singing sporadically by the hide. On the walk back home a Blackcap was singing in the same spot on Miswell Lane and also there was one singing in my garden this morning. (Roy Hargreaves)
• Tuesday 4th March 2014.
A few pictures from today at the Plover Hide.
|Bullfinch by Michael Nott|
|Kingfisher by Michael Nott|
|Mallard by Michael Nott|
• Monday 3rd March 2014.
It was again pleasant to be out in calm, sunny conditions. Walking past Miswell Farm a Little Owl was in its usual tree and unusually was still visible on my return journey. Skylarks were singing with great enthusiasm round by the Dry Canal. The Pink-footed Goose was in the field on the inside of the corner by Wilstone Cemetery with a few Greylags. On my return journey there was a singing male Blackcap in a garden at the top end of Miswell Lane. (Roy Hargreaves)
• Sunday 2nd March 2014.
The Pink-footed Goose flew into Wilstone for a brief stay before heading out to the fields again with the local Greylags. Although it is easy to doubt it's provenance, as Roy has said it seems quite wary, always staying on the far side of the Greylag flock keeping it's distance from the bank. A couple of photos attached.(Charles Jackson)
|Pink-footed Goose by Charles Jackson|
At about 8.30 a Bittern pursued by a Black-headed Gull flew into Wilstone, circled around until it lost the gull and then landed in the reedbed. The Teal seemed to be very restless today. (Johne Taylor)
• Saturday 1st March 2014.
Today was lovely and the forecast fog wasn’t as dense as I feared so even first thing visibility was good enough to check the reservoirs. From the Wilstone jetty two Goldeneye were visible and an Oystercatcher was flying round and appeared to land but out of sight and later I saw it from the hide as it roosted on a tern raft. By the cress beds three Little Egrets flew up from the adjacent meadow and towards the reservoir. When I arrived at Startops six Red-crested Pochard were swimming round before flying over to Tringford and when visiting it I saw eight there. In the morning I received a call from Ian to say that the Pink-footed Goose was about again and later on it was on the water with Greylags and was certainly wary compared to the Greylags. I also heard a Nuthatch between the hide and the west corner of the reservoir. (Roy Hargreaves)
|Pink-footed Goose by Roy Hargreaves|
(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.