September 2013


Any and all wildlife, so that they can be shared with our other members and help to give a fuller record of what we have. You can send them by e-mail here. Photographs are very welcome.

LATEST NEWS - GREBE 61 now available in the Members Section. 
BAT WALK - 5th October WILSTONE Visit the news section for more.
(NOTE: This is the 5th at Wilstone and not the 15th at Marsworth as previously advertised) 

 Monday 30th September 2013
This morning a Garganey was just in front of the hide at Wilstone and off to the right. Also eleven Little Egrets were in the same area and four juvenile Black-tailed Godwits were of to the left – Mike Nott kindly sent me this photo of one of them. After I left the hide a 1st winter Shelduck walked along the bank and Mike Nott got this excellent photo of it. It is a 1st winter because it has the obvious white eye-ring of a juvenile, dull pinkish bill, remnants of the white face, greyish markings on the upper mantle, lacks the adult’s black central belly-stripe and the brown band is still forming. Other noteworthy birds included 14 or 15 Pintail scattered round the reservoir and two Dunlin on the spit that points towards the jetty and a juv Red-crested Pochard just off the jetty. (Roy Hargreaves)
Black-tailed Godwit by Mike Nott

Shelduck by Mike Nott

 Sunday 29th September 2013
Wilstone: Many, many duck! of which I saw at least 8 Pintail, mainly snoozing. 1 Sparrow Hawk pursued by 4 Corvids, Red Kite, Buzzard, 3 Black-tailed Godwits. Displaying Ravens (distant & being watched by Steve when I arrived at the jetty) and just as I left, spotted in flight by Steve Rodwell, 4 Golden Plover flew in to the spit opposite the jetty and had a quick bathe (Francis Buckle)

In addition to Francis and Roy's sightings, a Curlew also flew through Wilstone this afternoon at about 3:35pm. It came from the West over the hide, calling; flew around a little, over to the jetty; looked to be heading east, into the wind, but eventually decided to turn around, came back over Wilstone and over the hide, due west. The 3 Black-tailed Godwits were still on the south-eastern shoreline. (Lucy Flower)
“I know there's some food round here somewhere!”.
I’m sure that the Robin knew there was food in this bait bucket at Marsworth. Roy Hargreaves

 Saturday 28th September 2013
Wilstone: Marsh Harrier, juvenile, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-legged Gull, adult (Steve Rodwell)

 Friday 27th September 2013

  Thursday 26th September 2013
Wilstone: This morning it made a change for there to be no mist obscuring things. The easterly winds seem to be hastening duck in as there were 15 Pintail in two flocks this morning. Also five Black-tailed Godwit with one in winter plumage. I also heard then saw a Ringed Plover flying off with two Snipe. (Roy Hargreaves)

Wilstone: 2 Hobby, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 juvs & 1 ad-winter, 6 Pintail, 3 Water Rail, 11 Little Egret (Jason Chapman HBC)

 Wednesday 25th September 2013
Wilstone: Plenty of activity at the reservoir today with the mist just about lifting enough to make viewing possible. Black-tailed Godwits and Greenshank sporting some uncomfortable looking coloured leg rings. Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer as well as a brazen Fox all showing at the eastern end of the reed bed. Hobby were seen hawking over. Startopsend held little of interest with the exception of at least two recent broods of Great Crested Grebe Juveniles still calling loudly for food this late in the year. (Peter Brazier)
25th Sept: Grey Heron in an unusual pose showing the full length of it's legs. by Peter Brazier. 

 Tuesday 24th September 2013
Visited Wilstone Hide this afternoon where a merry band of birders were photographing the very active Hobbies. At least two were routinely flying over the reeds and over the water with occasional forays close to the hide and roosting in the Poplar tress to the right of the hide. The attached shots are heavily cropped and were taken with a Canon 1DIV, 300 f2.8 isii lens with a 2x extender at ISO 1600 1/2500 sec f9 with +1 stop. I like the one with the dragonfly being eaten on the wing. Others took better pictures :-( but plan to try again tomorrow to improve the quality. (Mike Nott)
24th Sept: Hobby in flight by Mike Nott

24th Sept: Hobby with Dragonfly by Mike Nott

 Monday 23rd September 2013
Wilstone: 3 Hobby, 6 Water Rail, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, from hide, 10 Little Egret, Dunlin, from hide, Kingfisher, Greenshank, cemetery corner, 5 Common Snipe, from hide (Jeff Bailey HBC)

At Wilstone two Garganey were still present – one by the hide and one by Cemetery Corner. Five Black-tailed Godwit were scattered about and a Greenshank and four Water Rails were in front of the reeds. Also the Dunlin was still with the Lapwing and two Pintail were off to the right of the hide. Also two oldish Fox cubs were playing on the mud by Cemetery Corner and one Chinese Water Deer was near them and another near the hide. The two local Whooper Swans were on Marsworth. (Roy Hargreaves)

 Sunday 22nd September 2013
WilstoneCommon Crane, Seen initially very distantly coming from the N.E. at about 3p.m. It started heading S.E. before it reached Wilstone Reservoir, briefly circling somewhere near the small reservoirs and then being lost against the backdrop of Aldbury Nowers. (Steve Rodwell)

 Saturday 21st September 2013
Wilstone: Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtail (Duncan Hilliard HBC)
Wilstone: 2 Common Snipe, 2 Hobby, Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit (Clifford Smout HBC)

 Friday 20th September 2013
Marsworth: Hobby (L. Flower)
Wilstone: 4 Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, 2 Common Snipe, 2 Hobby (Gordon Cox)

 Thursday 19th September 2013
Wilstone: 4 Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Dunlin, Hobby (Steve Blake)

 Wednesday 18th September 2013
This morning the number of Black-tailed Godwits appeared to have reduced although not all of the muddy fringes are visible with the continued dropping of the water level on Wilstone. Two Black-tailed Godwits and a juvenile Dunlin were visible from the hide. From the jetty a Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank, along with two Water Rails were visible in front of the reeds and a Cetti’s Warbler was also singing. Also two Whooper Swans were asleep with the Mute Swans in the middle but were no doubt local birds originally for Wardown Park in Luton. Also a female Red-crested Pochard was visible in the middle near the swans. (Roy Hargreaves)

I got round Startop's, Marsworth and Tringford this morning.
Startop's had the juvenile Little Ringed Plover (NW shoreline); a good 30-40 hirundines (mixture of Sand & House Martins with a few Swallows as well); a single Wigeon; a female Red-crested Pochard; 5 lovely, stripy, young Great Crested Grebes loosely accompanied by an adult; and a Kingfisher flew across the south corner over towards Tringford.
Marsworth had little of note, except 5 Great Crested Grebes. Over on Tringford, 3 Little Grebes stood out and a pair of Kingfishers whizzed passed the hide and around the south corner, perching occasionally at a distance. 20+ Swallows were hawking for insects over the grassy field west of the footpath which runs along the western edge, and I heard a Green Woodpecker call. (Lucy Flower)

 Tuesday 17th September 2013
This morning the two Garganey were in front of the reeds by Cemetery Corner on Wilstone. Also along that stretch there was a Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank and three Water Rails. From the hide four Black-tailed Godwits were mobile along the muddy edges. Tringford had three Red-crested Pochard including an eclipse male. (Roy Hargreaves)

 Monday 16th September 2013
Wilstone: There were 6 Blackwits and the Greenshank around the edges. Two Hobbys, one of which tried very hard to grab a Common Sandpiper, but failed, despite following it around much of the reservoir. Rose picked out a beautiful Red Fox on the edge of the reeds. I could not see the Garganeys but we did not spend too much time in the hide; we had to get out as it was so noisy in there! (I assume from the wind! -ed) (Mike Collard)
16th Sept: Black-tailed Godwit by Mike Nott

16th Sept: Black-tailed Godwit by Mike Nott
16th Sept: Little Ringed Plover by Mike Nott
Very quiet from Wilstone hide. Five Black tailed Godwits (photo's shows Godwit stretching and showing eponymous black tail), Mandarin mooching about just in front of vegetation in front of hide and a solitary Little Ringed Plover on mud near Drayton corner. Others in hide reported lots of Kingfisher activity. (Michael Nott)
16th Sept: Mandarin Duck by Mike Nott

 Sunday 15th September 2013
Startop's End: Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Hobby, Ringed Plover. Tringford: 3 Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher. Wilstone: Black-tailed Godwit, Mandarin, female in front of hide, 3 Ringed Plover (Andrew Steele HBC)

This morning dawned cool and surprisingly calm at Wilstone until about 8.30 when the wind commenced to blow. Greenshank, two Hobbies and Nuthatch seen. Disappointing numbers of birds handled but of the 40 caught included Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, very young looking Goldcrest as well as Blackcaps, Reed Warblers and Chiffchaff. (Johne Taylor - Tring Ringing Group)

 Saturday 14th September 2013
I started early heading for the Wilstone hide to get out of the rain. To the right were the 5 Black Tailed Godwits, 1 Snipe and the Little Ringed Plover which was quickly harassed and chased away by a grumpy Lapwing. It didn't last long though as everything was frightened by a young fox that came out of the woods onto the dried lake bed. With the spit now devoid I decided to head over to see the Marsworth Kingfishers. Wow is all I can say. The pair were in a very playful mood having a game of kiss chase.This went on for over half an hour with them zipping all around me. They were so busy playing that they seemed to not mind my presence one bit. They flew past so close at one point that I actually ducked. I've not seen this behaviour in them in all the time I have spent watching this pair. It was great sitting down there and I also had visit from a very inquisitive Robin, a young Grey Wagtail, a pair of Yellow Wagtails, a Wren and numerous other small birds. I was so engrossed with the Kingfishers that I barely noticed when a Great Crested Grebe surfaced just 4 feet in front of me. Who would have thought that such a grey day could be filled with so much colour. (Phill Luckhurst)
16th Sept: Lapwing by Phill Luckhurst

16th Sept: Kingfisher by Phill Luckhurst

Wilstone: This morning really was miserable and trying to see anything at any distance was very difficult. This afternoon I tried to look for a Firecrest that had been reported with no success but at least the weather and viewing conditions had improved considerably. By the old overflow the juv Little Ringed Plover was still present. From the hide two Garganey were asleep on the embankment and a bit harder to spot as a result. Also from the hide two Ringed Plover and five Black-tailed Godwits were visible to the left. Also Little Egret numbers seem to be on the increase as I counted fifteen but I know other people have counted more. The Mandarin was on the embankment just beyond the vegetation. On the way back from the hide I found a Goldcrest and Treecreeper flock but no sign of the Firecrest. Also I saw a Spotted Flycatcher in the trees just into the hide meadow – seems quite a while since I last saw one. From the jetty I had seen the Greenshank this morning but no sign this afternoon – although one Water Rail was visible. On returning to the car I bumped into David Bilcock and as we compared notes we saw six Black-tailed Godwits flying around so clearly another had turned up from somewhere. (Roy Hargreaves)
14th Sept: Mandarin by Roy Hargreaves

 Friday 13th September 2013
This morning was the start of another dank, grey day. On Wilstone the two Garganey started off by the hide and by the time I left they were in front of the reed bed recently frequented by the Spotted Crake and that now has a Greenshank patrolling in front of it – along with Water Rails of varying sizes, colours and ages. Also the five Black-tailed Godwits were still off to the right of the hide along the front of the reeds. The Little Ringed Plover had been joined by a Ringed Plover on the mud by the old overflow. A change of approach at Startops allowed me to get close to the other Little Ringed Plover that was on the north-west shore and take this photo. There was a Common Sandpiper on the mud at the southern end of the reservoir. (Roy Hargreaves)
13th Sept: Little Ringed Plover by Roy Hargreaves
Wilstone: 5 Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed Plover, juvenile with Ringed Plover, Water Rail, 2 Ringed Plover, near overflow, 10+ Little Egret, Greenshank, near crake site, Oystercatcher, circled low over reservoir (Clifford Smout HBC)

 Thursday 12th September 2013
Wilstone: Kingfisher, 16 Little Egret, Greenshank, 3 Water Rail, 2 Hobby, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, Garganey (Steve Blake HBC)
Went to Wilstone Hide early. Soon after arrival four Snipe appeared. At one point, they were startled by a group of birds taking off and I was lucky enough to get a picture of them with all three cocking their tail up. I have not seen this behaviour and wondered if others had? Otherwise pretty quiet. Godwit on right hand side of hide at distance. Marsworth was all but empty. Startops had Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher
at northern end. (Mike Nott)
12th Sept: Snipe by Mike Nott

 Wednesday 11th September 2013
Wilstone: A quick update. Two Garganey were in front of the hide and five Black-tailed Godwits were on the right. Two Reeves were off to the left and the juv Little Ringed Plover was on its usual area of mud. There was a Greenshank in front of the Spotted Crake reed bed and 3 Water Rail were showing there including a very young juv that was still very dark and had a very short bill. (Roy Hargreaves)

 Tuesday 10th September 2013
Another day at Wilstone, Tring and another day of iffy light. Had great fun though. We were regularly treated to Hobbies whizzing past just inches from the hide windows like little missiles. I am sure they were just showing off. Photography wise they were either far too close or miles away and below were the best I could manage. Along with the hobbies everything seems to have sprung to life. There were many blue flashes of the Kingfishers and numerous wading bird including the Black Tailed Godwits and the Snipe. There was much clicking of cameras when the Hobby landed and again a few minutes later when the adults were passing food to their young. Hopefully the chaps with big glass faired better than I managed. (Phill Luckhurst)
Hobby by Phill Luckhurst
Hobby passing food by Phill Luckhurst
Four Black-tailed Godwits, Snipe, Little Grebe, Hobby and a number of Little Egrets at Wilstone this afternoon (Dave Hutchinson)
10th Sept: Black-tailed Godwit by Dave Hutchinson

10th Sept: Black-tailed Godwits by Dave Hutchinson

 Monday 9th September 2013
The Spotted Crake was showing very well stood still in the evening sun until after 1800 hrs. At about 18.15 four waders flew across in front of us and left the res in cemetery corner - 4 Knot. They flew off towards Startops etc and appeared to drop towards there but were lost behind trees. We raced back to the car and checked Startops just as the thunderstorm hit but there was no sign there, a Little Ringed Plover was still present on the west shore. (Mike & Ted Wallen)

Snipe vs Curlew Sandpiper for size by Richard Bennett
Light easterlies with showers always looked to have potential and so it proved. I started at Wilstone and after David Bilcock left headed for the hide to try for the Crake when the light had improved. I saw the juv Little Ringed Plover on the mud in the west corner on the way to the hide. From the hide the Black-tailed Godwit was off to the right and Snipe were close up but little else. Having sat there for a while I heard a Greenshank and scanned around for it but failed to see it. In scanning I saw a small wader on the left of the embankment in front of the hide which hadn’t been there before. It was so clean underneath it had to be a Curlew Sandpiper and sure enough it was a juvenile. Unfortunately conditions for photography were poor so this photo was the best I could manage at the time. I called DB and he texted out the news and others arrived to enjoy this bird.
9th Sept: Curlew Sandpiper by Roy Hargreaves
I then proceeded round to the jetty to look for the Crake. I spent about 40 minutes there but apart from the two juvenile Garganey and 4+ Water Rails I couldn’t see the Spotted Crake although it was seen by other people before my arrival. A quick check of Startops yielded a Common Sandpiper. (Roy Hargreaves)

 Sunday 8th September 2013
8th Sept: Spotted Crake by Ian Williams. 
Wilstone: SPOTTED CRAKE Still showing distantly from the Jetty at 8am. (Steve Blake)
Startopsend: Grey Wagtail, juvenile, Little Ringed Plover, juvenile on west shore (Mike Wallen HBC)

The Spotted Crake was still moving in front of the reeds, in the open, at about 11:40am but then seemed to go into hiding for a good 45 mins. Scope views remained distant but good enough. A Greenshank flew in to land on the mud south of the hide at about 12:15pm and remained around the hide area until at least 3pm (constantly being harassed by the Lapwing). 4 Common Snipe in front of the hide. 8+ Little Egrets. 3 Hobbies. And still some Migrant Hawker Dragonflies on the grass in front of the hide - a pair even mating. (Lucy Flower)
8th Sept: Common Snipe by Lucy Flower

8th Sept: Greenshank by Lucy Flower

 Saturday 7th September 2013
MEGA: Wilstone: SPOTTED CRAKE "Steve's found a Spotted Crake along reed bed from cemetery corner Wilstone, showing occasionally at distance from jetty" This bird was first spotted by reservoir stalwart Steve Rodwell. First sighting of a Spotted Crake at Wilstone for 17 years. 

 Friday 6th September 2013
Spent this morning in Wilstone Hide (By the way, thank you to whoever has swept up and cleaned the hide - great job!) expecting something to fall in due to the weather front moving through. Ruff was on left hand side of spit, moving to centre area where it went to sleep for a couple of hours surrounded by lapwings. Snipe flew in at about 11am on mud to right of hide, Little Grebe on right hand side of spit. Confiding juvenile Dunnock(?) on scrub in front of hide. Lots of Wagtails about.  (Mike Nott)
6th Sept: Dunnock by Mike Nott

6th Sept: Ruff by Mike Nott
Started off at Startops seeing a Little Ringed Plover between the carpark and steps briefly. Nothing else of note on the small ressies so moved to Wilstone where there were the Ruff, 4 Hobbies, 12 Little Egrets, the 2 Garganey, a Little Ringed Plover and a Mandarin. Just as I was leaving a Curlew flew over into Bucks calling about 40 yards up. (Ian Williams)

6th Sept: Snipe on Wilstone by Richard Bennett
6th Sept: Wren by Richard Bennett
 Thursday 5th September 2013
Wilstone: Common Snipe, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, 11 Little Egret (Steve Blake HBC)
Startopsend: 2 Grey Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover. (Phil Harrison HBC)

 Wednesday 4th September 2013
Very clear morning, all usual residents present, Grey Wagtails, Common Sandpiper, 2 Hobbies, Kestrel in farmland by dry canal very obliging. Much insect and fish activity. (Richard Bennett)
Richard Bennett

Kestrel by Richard Bennett

Wilstone: 1 Juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Hobby, 1 Golden Plover (Still with a lovely black belly). Startopsend: Juvenile Little Ringed Plover. (Lucy Flower)
4th Sept: Golden Plover by Lucy Flower
4th Sept: Little Ringed Plover by Lucy Flower

 Tuesday 3rd September 2013
3rd Sept: Wilstone at 07:50 by Peter Brazier
3rd Sept: Chinese Water Deer at Wilstone by Peter Brazier

3rd Sept: Grey Heron with a large Pike by Richard Bennett

3rd Sept: And it ate it too. by Richard Bennett
3rd Sept: Dragon Flies Mating by Richard Bennett
Wilstone: Kingfisher, 10 Little Egret, 2 Garganey, juv Little Ringed Plover (Jeff Bailey)

 Sunday 1st September 2013

I really appreciated the hard work done clearing the vegetation this morning so thanks again guys. This photo would have been impossible last weekend – even ignoring the fact that neither of these birds were on Wilstone last weekend. They were so close to the hide that they would have been hidden by the vegetation. Both birds spent time close to the hide this morning and apparently that was the case yesterday so anyone wanting nice close up photos knows what to do. (Roy Hargreaves)
1st Sept: Garganey by Roy Hargreaves

Wilstone: 140 birds handled including new male Cettis Warbler, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, plenty of Blackcaps, at last, Kingfisher, Chiffchaffs and first year Little Egret. First for the reservoirs. (Johne Taylor, Tring Ringing Group)

1st Sept: Little Egret by Tring Ringing Group
And the one that got away? There was a Hobby sat on top of the net pole on the bank end of the reedbed at about 9.25. Also present on the reservoir were the 2 garganey, a single common sandpiper, a single shipe and 4 crossbill flew towards the hide from the overflow at about 8.40. (Ian Williams)

For other bird sightings in the area please visit Herts Bird Club. for whom we thank for many of the sightings listed here.
Please visit Lee Evans' website Birding Tring Reservoirs which looks at the reservoirs and other local sites, including the surrounding hills. 

For information about other wildlife visit The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and see Hertfordshire Natural History Society.

(Abbreviations: HBC Herts Bird Club, BBC Bucks Bird Club, BBYG Bucksbirders Yahoo Group, HBYG Hertsbirding Yahoo Group, BTRYG BirdingTringReservoirs Yahoo Group, TWTW is FoTR's Tring Water Treatment Works site.

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.

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