April 2014


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

 Wednesday 30th April 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Since seeing my first Wilstone Hobby of the year last Saturday I've been trying and failing to get a decent picture so attached is one taken from the Drayton Hide last season. Hopefully they will give us as much entertainment this year as they did the last. As ever they have timed their arrival perfectly as today I saw my first of the year of many insects they feed on at Wilstone. These included Damselflies, Common Darters, Wide-Bodies Chasers and even a couple of Migrant Hawkers which normally do not appear until June. Rushy meadow was full of butterflies today with the Orange Tips in full mating mode. While on the subject of Rushy Meadow the farmer has installed a number of kissing gates. Some are a little on the small side as one rather large and very embarrassed lady discovered today at the one nearest the Drayton Hide. So much so she could not fit and had to abandon her walk in that direction. Over at Startops later there were plenty of Terns darting around and also a single Redshank sat on the bales. At least 3 Cuckoo could be heard calling and one could be seen in the trees between Marsworth and the Lagoon.
Hobby (last season) by Phill Luckhurst

Orange Tip by Phill Luckhurst

Orange Tip by Phill Luckhurst

Orange Tip by Phill Luckhurst

Common Tern by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - Again misty this morning but pleasant otherwise. From the jetty there was a flock of six Shelduck swimming around. Uneventful for the rest of the walk with a single Oystercatcher flying round and a Garden Warbler was singing in trees in the hide meadow.

 Tuesday 29th April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - I overslept this morning and woke to thickish fog so wasn’t too optimistic as I walked to Wilstone Res. On the east path down from the Dry Canal there was a Lesser Whitethroat and carrying on round I was surprised to see a Tawny Owl land in front of me and naturally it flew off as I scrambled for my camera. The fog did dissipate a bit as I walked round and by the overflow I spotted this male Greater Scaup - a big surprise to be honest. Unfortunately the picture reflects the foggy conditions at the time. The Cetti’s was singing at the back of Rushy Meadow and the Little Owl was out at Miswell Farm in its normal tree.
Greater Scaup by Roy Hargreaves
Ian Bennell - I've just had an email regarding the wing tagged (number 59) Marsh Harrier seen at Wilstone Reservoir on the 21st April. It was tagged on 18th July 2013 on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

 Sunday 27th April 2014.
Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) - Wilstone this morning. The male Cettis ringed at Wilstone is a bird originally ringed at Marsworth.There was also a new female there today plus two Cuckoos, good numbers of Reed, Sedge warblers. A Garden warbler, several BlackcapsChiffchaffsOystercatchers sitting on large raft, lots of Martins and Swallows flying low over the reeds and water.

Mallard on Marsworth yesterday by Peter Brazier
 No pictures from the reservoirs this weekend so we have these from Dave Hutchinson at College Lake.
Little Ringed Plover by David Hutchinson

Reed Bunting by David Hutchinson

Reed Warbler by David Hutchinson

Charles Jackson - With Steve R this morning at Wilstone - a Hobby flew in from over the hide and began hunting along the reed bed. The hirundines disappeared immediately! Also a Cuckoo singing from the back of Wilstone, a Yellow Wagtail on the bank and a Kingfisher. Lots of House Martins. A Marsworth there was around 45 Common Terns and a Cuckoo there as well.

Roy Hargreaves - First thing I saw four Oystercatchers together at Wilstone. A Yellow Wagtail at Startops and two Shelduck at Tringford

 Thursday 24th April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning it was raining lightly when I got up and this augured well. On walking up the car park steps at Wilstone a quick scan of the close barley bales produced a Whimbrel. Surprisingly after a few minutes it moved to another bale and it wasn't until 6:35 that it departed and called twice while leaving. Unfortunately the poor record shot was all I could manage in the conditions but I have included one of a Whimbrel I took last winter on Tenerife, a bit of a contrast. Two Common Sandpipers and two Oystercatchers were flying about and the two tame Mandarin where on the bank and quite approachable. A circuit round Wilstone indicated that Whitethroats are well and truly in most of their usual haunts and the Cetti’s was still at the back of Rushy Meadow. Startops had a Common Sandpiper and Marsworth a singing Cuckoo.
Whimbrel (at Wilstone) by Roy Hargreaves

Whimbrel (on Tenerife) by Roy Hargreaves

 Wednesday 23rd April 2014.
Charles Jackson - a selection of butterflies taken at Wilsone over the last few days.
Green-veined White by Charles Jackson

Green-veined White by Charles Jackson

Orange-tip by Charles Jackson

Peacock by Charles Jackson

Peacock by Charles Jackson

Peacock by Charles Jackson

Tortoiseshell by Charles Jackson
David Hutchinson - Nothing very unusual seen today with Ed although there were two Cuckoos flying around over Marsworth and I’m sure there was another calling in the distance. No sign of Cetti’s but Sedge and Reed quite vocal. Common Sandpiper noted on Startops but no Yellow Wagtails seen. Couple of Common Whitethroats along canal behind Wilstone along with Blackcaps, etc. Stepps held Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat as well as the usual Warblers Couple of record shots attached.
Lesser Whitethroat by Dave Hutchinson
Cuckoo by Dave Hutchinson

 Tuesday 22nd April 2014.
David Lee - Swift and 2 Herring Gulls at Startops.

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was murky and dank so looked promising. Wilstone had a single Common Sandpiper, 2 Oystercatchers, male Red-crested Pochard  and two Common Terns. Marsworth had a Cuckoo singing away and Cetti’s and while I was walking round a Redshank flew across towards Startops and three Dunlin flew round silently over Marsworth then Startops before I lost sight of them. Startops had one Arctic Tern with the Common Terns and either a second Common Sandpiper or the Wilstone bird relocated. Tringford had a male Red-crested Pochard. Mike Wallen let me know that the Marsh Harrier was still there at 9:50 perched in a bush.
Marsh Harrier by Ian Williams

Marsh Harrier by Ian Williams

 Monday 21st April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - Just as I was returning to the area I received texts from Steve Rodwell and then David Bilcock to say that a Marsh Harrier and then a second bird had arrived at Wilstone Reservoir so I headed there directly on my return. I bumped into David Bilcock and saw one Marsh Harrier while stood by the old overflow and then headed to the hide where Ian Williams was already present. After a little while the same Marsh Harrier flew round again several times before leaving the reservoirs heading off in a westerly direction. While the first bird was leaving the wing-tagged Marsh Harrier dropped into the reeds. The wings-tag on the right wing was orange with 59 on it and the left wing had a paler wing-tag. In the meantime a shower came in a presumably the same bird flew back in again and flew round and took a swipe at the second Marsh Harrier perched in a bush. Eventually the first bird flew off in a north-easterly direction and the wing-tagged bird remained perched in a bush.

While returning to the car park I pointed out the perched Marsh Harrier to Lee Evans and spotted a Numenius and called out Curlew to Lee, who said Whimbrel, and then I heard it give its distinctive call. It headed off in an East-North-East or East by North direction at just after 7pm.
Whimbrel by Ian Williams. 

Charles Jackson - Spurred on by Mike's report from the hills I braved the milling throng and went up to the Beacon. The very showy Garden Warbler (photo attached) was still just over from the Car Park as well as a Common Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat in the same area. There were a few Northern Wheatears on the Beacon slope but I could only find 1 good Greenland candidate (see photos).
At Marsworth the Cuckoo was singing on and off from the trees at the back of the reservoir. Sedge, Reed and Cettis all showing well, plus a nice male Reed Bunting and the Red-crested Pochard (photos attached). No Arctic Terns, just 20 plus Common Terns. Plus a couple of 'Aw aren't they cute shots'
Garden Warbler (on Steps Hill) by Charles Jackson

Northern Wheatear (on Steps Hill)  by Charles Jackson

Awwwww, (Mallards) by Charles Jackson

Reed Bunting by Charles Jackson

Reed Warbler by Charles Jackson

 Sunday 20th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - A photo attached of one of the Arctic Terns at Startopsend Yellow Wagtail there as well.
Several Lesser Whitethroats on Steps Hill.
Arctic Tern by Charles Jackson. 

 Saturday 19th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - It was cold on Steps Hill at 6.00 this morning and consequently there was little activity. When it warmed up a few Lesser Whitethroats began singing noisily from the tops of the bushes on the slopes - record snaps attached. Little else around although I bumped into Dave Bilcock who had seen a Ring Ouzel. One of the Cettis was showing well from the Sallows next to the Canal at Marsworth as well as a Sedge Warbler that sang for ages from the same trees. Reed Warblers still not showing themselves. There were about 22 Common Terns on Startops and Marsworth.
Lesser Whitethroat by Charles Jackson

Lesser Whitethroat by Charles Jackson
 Friday 18th April 2014.
Preening Redshank by James Heron
Roy Hargreaves - As it is a Bank Holiday I decided to cover all of the reservoirs and it was good to see more summer visitors that I hadn’t seen yet this year. It was cold and calm at first but the wind picked up a little as the morning progressed. Wilstone had two Mandarin on the bank that moved onto the barley bales. Two Yellow Wagtails landed on the bank before heading off into the fields as the first dog walkers came round. A Reed Warbler was singing in the Cemetery Corner reeds and the Cuckoo allowed me to get underneath it for this unusual photo. Marsworth had a Cetti’s singing and Reed and Sedge Warbler in the reeds close to the path at both ends. Also Common Tern numbers had increased and there was a Yellow Wagtail and 1st winter Herring Gull in the paddocks and one on the bank may have been the same bird. The Lesser Whitethroat was rattling away in the canal hedge close to the main car park and a blonde male Red-crested Pochard was on Marsworth and a normal one on Startopsend. Startop’s also had a Redshank on one of the closer barley bales and a mixed group of hirundines was over Startop’s too.
Under Cuckoo by Roy Hargreaves

Sedge Warbler by Roy Hargreaves

Yellow Wagtail by Roy Hargreaves

 Thursday 17th April 2014.
Francis Buckle - Female Orange Tip at Marsworth.
Female Orange Tip by Francis Buckle

 Wednesday 16th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - There was a male Yellow Wagtail in the Horse Paddocks at Marsworth this evening. Also one of the Oystercatchers flew over. No sign of the Redshanks though. There were 8 Common Terns fishing on Marsworth, being periodically mugged by the 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls - one succeeding in forcing one of the Terns to drop it's fish which it promptly picked out of the water. Don't you just love them! The reed beds were fairly noisy with Reed Warblers though they stayed out of sight. 2 Cetti's were singing. Several Swallows feeding low over the paddocks. Some photos of the evening attached..
Common Tern by Charles Jackson

Mallards by Charles Jackson

Mute Swan by Charles Jackson

Wood Pigeon by Charles Jackson

Lynne Lambert - Pleased to report that Kestrels are in the box at Tring Water Treatment Works reserve (managed by FoTR). Following a meeting with Trevor Earl, Thames Water have changed the grass-cutting regime at the Tring site to benefit wildlife. The grass area behind the sewage treatment machinery will be managed to try and develop a thatchy underlayer favoured by voles.

Lynne has just filed a report on the Tring Ringing Group activities in the Ringing Group Section.

Phill Luckhurst - Just a quick visit today but well worth the effort to see the Rushy Meadow fox. About 5 mins after this shot was taken the pair were seen walking back into the woods carrying a pheasant. On Wilstone duckling numbers seem to have reduced quite a bit overnight. One recognisable Mallard had 12 yesterday but only 9 today. Another appeared to be down to just 3.

Roy Hargreaves - Again another beautiful morning with no visible wader passage. This morning a pair of Pintail were present, flying round with Gadwall before settling on the water briefly and finally flying off east. The Ross’s Goose was still in the field. Initially the Cuckoo was either silent or over at Marsworth but as I walked round past Rushy Meadow I heard it and managed this digi-scoped photo of it and a Common Whitethroat was by the Dry Canal. Miswell Farm had the Little Owl and a Common Whitethroat along with the usual Linnets.
Pintail by Roy Hargreaves

Cuckoo by Roy Hargreaves

 Tuesday 15th April 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - Firstly a big thanks to Roy Hargreaves for his detailed explanation on finding the Miswell Little Owl. I've now seen it on my last 3 visits including today when I dropped by before work. I also found a Common Whitethroat as well as my first Cuckoo of the year. Down at the hide a pair of Canada Geese appear to have taken residence. The male (I assume it is the male that does the work while the female sits around doing nothing, just like any good marriage) was attacking almost anything that came near including a pair of Crows and even a Mink who decided this was a challenge too far. For some reason he didn't seem too worried about the Great Crested Grebe, maybe because every time he even looked at it the Grebe vanished under the water. When I returned late afternoon one of the many duckling broods arriving in the last few days were swimming nearby and even those were attacked. However this time mummy Mallard was having none of it and won the battle protecting her chicks. In the fields behind Wilstone the farmer is burning all the trees he cut down a few months back. Seems a bit of a waste but hey ho. The pair of Buzzards seems to be roosting right near the road on the cemetery side for the last few evenings (great pics from James Heron). The Ross's goose is still there with the Greylags. Over at Startops I found a White Wagtail and a Yellow Wagtail. Also there is a splendid Red Crested Pochard and I had brief visits from both Redshank and an Oystercatcher. Marsworth had 20+ Common Terns today, a bird I have never managed to get a photo of that I am happy with.
Canada Goose by Phill Luckhurst

Mallard Ducklings by Phill Luckhurst

Rushy Meadow clearance by Phill Luckhurst

Common Tern by Phill Luckhurst

Red-crested Pochard by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - This morning I was tempted by Charlie’s report of Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat at Marsworth but I resisted in favour of my usual walk as I would expect to catch up with those three species at Wilstone anyway. Miswell Farm had a Little Owl in the usual tree both on my way down and on my way back. From the Dry Canal I heard a Cuckoo in the trees by the ringing area and also a Common Whitethroat next to the Dry Canal itself. With the day being sunny and calm I expected little in the way of wader passage and standing on the siphon block for 35 minutes proved me right. I did see a pair of Mandarin on the bank and one of the Oystercatchers as well as a Little Egret that was flushed and flew off. I heard then saw the Cuckoo in the poplars to the right of the hide. However, the real highlight was by the cress beds though. As I stood at the top end of the cress beds checking the hedges and concrete posts for chats etc I heard the distinctive buzzing call of a Tree Pipit close and above me. I looked up but saw nothing and waited and it called again. This time I could see it was perched high in a tree and facing me. I reached for my camera, only to hear it’s third and final call as it flew off – how do they know!! It is the first I have seen perched at the reservoirs that I can recall and they aren’t easy to connect with at all.

Finally there was a female Chinese Water Deer feeding along a hedge and I actually saw the Common Whitethroat as it sang and called sporadically.

 Monday 14th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - An sunny evening stroll round the reservoirs was quite interesting..The Little Owl was showing well at Miswell and it was another great day for Butterflies with Orange-tip, Small White and Commas around the back of Wilstone. Reed and Sedge warblers were singing at Marsworth as well as the Cettis. A Lesser Whitethroat was also singing occasionally from the Canal hedge at Startops. The 2 Redshanks also at Marsworth. Finally there were 2 White Wagtails at Startops (found by Steve R). Some grotty shots of the wagtails attached.
Blackcap by Charles Jackson

Comma Butterfly by Charles Jackson

Redshank by Charles Jackson

White Wagtail by Charles Jackson

Can anyone help ID this gull for us please? (click on the pic to enlarge)

Unknown Gull by James Heron

Buzzard by James Heron

Buzzard by James Heron

Great Crested Grebe's displaying by James Heron

 Sunday 13th April 2014.
Johne Taylor (Tring Ringing Group) - Sedge warbler and Willow warbler singing this morning. Willow warbler ringed plus Chiff chaffs, Blackcaps and Reed buntings.

 Saturday 12th April 2014.
Bill George - 6 Yellow Wagtails and 1 Oystercatcher in the usual Paddock near Startops. Plover Hide: Kingfisher, pair of Reed Bunting, Jay and a Tawny Owl calling. Someone left a Tamron lens cap in the hide, it is there waiting for you. 

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was quite cool but pleasant. Wilstone has a pair of Shelduck, the Oystercatchers, four Common Tern and the Ross’s Goose on it. I have attached the photos because it proves that the bird is unringed, also that it appears to be an immature and there is slight damage on the right wing. Also over Wilstone a small flock Sand Martins and Swallows appeared. Marsworth had six Common Terns, probably including the four from Wilstone, and Cetti’s Warbler was singing at the south end. Over the causeway between reservoirs a flock of Hirundines included several House Martins. Startops had a pair of Red-crested Pochard and a pair of Redshank flew in and landed on the barley bales before heading back to College Lake. Tringford hosted a single male Red-crested Pochard.
Redshank by Roy Hargreaves

Ross's Goose by Roy Hargreaves

 Friday11th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - There was a Sedge Warbler singing briefly at Marsworth from the large reedbed near the Sallows this afternoon. 4 Common Terns on Startops. Though not as hot as yesterday it was still a great day for Butterflies with masses of Peacocks, few male Orange-tips, a Speckled Wood and a Small White. Impressive numbers of Tortoiseshells at Wilstone even at 6.00pm. See photos attached...
Peacock Butterfly by Charles Jackson

Tortoiseshell Butterfly by Charles Jackson

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was cloudy and still first thing and I heard a Tawny Owl hooting as I was walking down to the reservoir. The Ross’s Goose was still in the field with the Greylags and two Oystercatchers were operating independently. A flock of mainly Sand Martins, with a few Swallows, appeared while I was there and I also saw two Muntjac. Unfortunately a male Muntjac had made its way into the newly fenced off fields and was trying to get into the orchard area. I unsuccessfully tried to get it to head back towards the wooden gate and go under it but it moved into the Rushy Meadow area so I hope it finds its way out. On the way back home the Little Owl was visible and I digi-scoped it to get this adequate shot of it.
Little Owl by Roy Hargreaves

 Thursday 10th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - It's reassuring to know that the millions of pounds spent by the Met Office on new computers has paid off.  The forecast for today was for a breezy cool day with a marked wind chill but it turned out to be a very warm day with little wind and as a consequence Butterflies were flying by 9.00am. There were good numbers of Peacocks, 2 male Orange-tips and my first Small White of the year. In the evening the Ross's Goose was closer to the bank and I managed a few photos (attached). An evening bash round the Beacon produced nothing at all, Not even a Wheatear. Very disappointing.
Ross's Goose by Charles Jackson

Ross's Goose by Charles Jackson

Phill Luckhurst - I sat down the hole at Marsworth today for a couple of hours. Where last year the Kingfishers could be seen here almost every visit they seem to have moved to pastures new. I've only seen them here a couple of times since autumn. Over at the Plover hide they are much more active. Still worth sitting here this morning though. The Robins greeted me as usual and every time any other small birds tried to say hello they were summarily chased away. These visitors included 2 Chiffchaff, a pair of Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Great Tits, 3 Blue Tits and at one time even a group of 7 Chaffinch were chased away. One poor female Chaffinch that was regularly trying to perch on the bush to the right was forced into the water by the pair. Also flitting around were a pair of Treecreepers carrying nesting material back and forth. About 11 there was an eruption of small flying insects and the birds went crazy for about 15 minutes trying to scoff as much as they could. Over at Wilstone later I had a good flyby of the Ross's goose just a couple of feet in front of me but sadly I had put away the camera. The Buzzards were overhead for quite a long time and the Oysercatcher pair looked to be sleeping on the fallen tree opposite the jetty. Behind the hide Crows were grabbing quite a few mating frogs.
Robin by Phill Luckhurst

Mallard by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves -This morning as very clear and sunny from early on, which usually means little in the way of waders being seen – as was the case. The day started off well with the Little Owl out on both my way out and the way back. I also saw a Chinese Water Deer quite close but it was too dark and it was off into the Oilseed Rape too quickly to capture the moment. Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were definitely in evidence this morning all round on my walk. The two Oystercatchers were mobile and two Mandarin were on the bank by the north corner but disappeared long before I got anywhere near them. The geese were closer to the footpath this morning allowing me to get better photographs of the Ross’s Goose. It is obviously taking a long while to refuel before continuing its journey to the Canadian Arctic ;-) Round by the hide I was pleased to get a decent series of photos of a co-operative Chinese Water Deer in decent light and not running. There was also a male Northern Wheatear on the concrete posts that run along the edges of two fields by the Cress beds. Alas the photo of that is truly record shot only.
Chinese Water Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Ross's Goose by Roy Hargreaves

 Wednesday 9th April 2014.
Charles Jackson - Despite the cold wind the underlying temperature was warm enough to bring plenty of Butterflies out today including a female Orange-tip, my first for the year. At Startops in the early evening there were 3 Common Terns and a Redshank, which was resting on the straw bales. Plenty of Sand Martins and a few Swallows. One of the Oystercatchers was in the horse field across from the Canal. Blackcaps seem to have reached critical mass, with birds singing from what seems like every other bush. I had a nice view of one of the Cetti's singing from high up in a prominent Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana) at the canal end of Marsworth. It looks like a favourite song post. Nice to actually see a Cetti's for a change. The Ross's Goose was still at Wilstone in the middle of the usual field. Little else happening there.

 Tuesday 8th April 2014.
Gary Hinton - Startops: Long Tailed Tits near the off road parking site near tringford/marsworth with a Gold finch sing loudly with in the same area. Great crested grebes, Coot, plentiful. Tufted Duck plenty it seems locally Mallards Black headed gulls Redshank, pair Grey lags, around 15 including in horses field next farm Grey Wagtails, at least 5 on raft Cormorant's, pair on raft
Common Turns, pair Red-crested Pochard, Grey Wagtail, Sand Martin *11, other kept passing through Swallows, *5 Chaffinchs, Song Thrush, Mute SWANS * 4 2 pairs, Robin, Wood Pigeons Lesser Black backed Gulls pair flying over towards wilstone maybe

Tringford: viewed from entrance across the road from Startops Heron Mute Swan pair one sitting Tufted Ducks Cormorant's, Coot, Magpie, pair Shelduck

Marsworth: Oystercatcher, one sitting on a raft, two few over low around startops before losing them in the setting sun, i think they may have not landed as i tried to locate them from other positions, so they may have gone on to wilstone at 7:15 Great crested grebe pair some mallards and not much else.

Charles Jackson - Spent a while at Wilstone this evening with Ian W hoping the Ross's Goose would stray close enough for a decent photo. It didn't -  spending some time at the far side of the reservoir near the reeds before flying back to rejoin the Greylags in the field by the overflow. So only poor record shots attached (Ian may have some better photos). The bird is looks as if it is unringed incidentally. Plenty of Sand Martins about and good numbers of Swallow with them.
Ross's Goose by Charlie Jackson

Phill Luckhurst - I started at the corner of Marsworth early. As usual I was greeted by the Robins who were protecting their little bit of territory from Blue Tits, Chiff Chaff, Chaffinch and a Willow Warbler. The pair of Treecreeper were not as active as usual today, maybe they were put off by the strong winds or maybe they have laid already. While sitting there I had regular visits from a Bank Vole who was stealing some seed left behind by whoever was there before me this morning. I then popped to the Plover hide and began playing with a new 10 stop filter I have. So busy I was that I missed a great opportunity to photograph a Kingfisher diving in right in front of the hide. Shortly after the Buzzard pair were above and a Water Rail shot from the reed beds to the right to the island. Over at Wilstone the Ross's Goose was swimming with the Greylags and 3 species of Grebe were around (Little, Great Crested and one Black Necked) including the first I have ever seen in flight. A Common Tern was feeding near the reed bed while above there were plenty of Sand Martin and Swallows.
Bank Vole by Phill Luckhurst

Blackbird by Phill Luckhurst

Common Buzzard by Phill Luckhurst

Great-crested Grebe by Phill Luckhurst

Little Grebe by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was a distinct contrast from last night, while breezy there was barely a cloud in the sky. The Little Owl was visible in its normal tree on my way out in the pre-dawn light. The two Oystercatchers were on the jetty and a Willow Warbler was singing nearby. The hirundines were initially absent but as I walked round they came in and one House Martin, a few Swallows and Sand Martins where all present and calling. Yesterday’s Ross’s Goose was in a field with the Greylags and although it is almost certainly an escape I took photos of it for reference purposes. Round the back I was pleasantly surprised to meet a co-operative Yellowhammer with the light in the right direction and managed quite a few photos of it until it moved further along the hedge. On turning round I saw this Chinese Water Deer running across a field and this was the only reasonable photo I managed of it. The light was poor but nothing to be done about that in the brief time I had to get this photo.
Chinese Water Deer by Roy Hargreves

Ross's Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Yellowhammer By Roy Hargreaves

  Monday 7th April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - I paid a quick visit to the reservoirs this evening in a lull in the rain. There was a Common Tern at Startops but no hirundines. Wilstone had all the hirundines for some reason and there was a decent sized flock of Sand Martins, with 20+ Swallows and at least one House Martin. Also a Common Tern was perched on the barley bales but may have come in from Startops. The surprise was an adult white morph Ross’s Goose that was there briefly. It flew off while I was setting up to digi-scope it.

Johne Taylor - There were two drake Mandarins displaying to a female on the front lawn of Drayton Manor this morning. Not seen them there before.

 Sunday 6th April 2014.
Kingfisher from the Plover hide by Peter Brazier

 Saturday 5th April 2014.
Ian Williams - The first Common Tern dropped in to Wilstone at 9.55 when it sat on a barley bale off the jetty. By the time I had got to the car park from the hide it had gone. A second bird flew in from Bucks a about 10.50 and flew straight through over the jetty towards Startops. About 45 minutes both birds flew back in (seen by myself, Steve and Charlie) and eventually settled on a bale in the middle at about 12:30. A Peregrine also flew through at about 10.40.

Charles Jackson - There were 3 Swallows at Marsworth, a Cettis and the 2 Oystercatchers were in the Horse field. 2 Common Terns and a Swallow at Wilstone.

 Friday 4th April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - Today the reservoirs were overshadowed by College Lake but still had birds on interest. This morning I saw my first Swallow at Wilstone and two Little Egrets were also about. This evening two Sand Martins at Wilstone, a pair of Red-crested Pochard at Tringford, a decent flock of Sand Martins and a Swallow at Startops with this adult Little Gull also present, although I didn’t see it when I first scanned and it may have come in after 5:45pm.
Little Gull by Roy Hargreaves

 Thursday 3rd April 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning it was misty but not so bad that you couldn't see across the reservoir. On the walk down I saw a Reeves’ Muntjac and little else but It was quite dark. The two Oystercatchers were by the jetty and a male Mandarin flew out of the murk and along the poplars. Just as I was arriving at the car park steps Steve Rodwell turned up and while we were chatting he said that two terns were flying in. I looked and saw three in the mist and realised that they were Sandwich Terns. They were a struggle to stay on in the murk and while I was composing a text Steve saw one flying off north-east and since we couldn’t see any of them after that we assume that the other two had done likewise unobserved.

Carrying on round the only noteworthy bird was the Little Owl at Miswell Farm. A word of caution for anyone going to look for it/them. It is best viewed from the main track through the gap in the hedge just down the slope from the ivy-covered tree. If you go through the gate towards the trees it just disappears into a hole in the tree and you won’t see it.

 Wednesday 2nd April 2014.
Charles Jackson - With Warren C this evening there were 70 plus Sand Martins, 3 Swallows and 1 House Martin over Startops and Marsworth. Cettis Warbler singing near the overflow at Marsworth. Oystercatcher calling and several Lesser Black-backed Gulls moving through or loafing around. Chiffchaffs and Blackcap singing. Pair of Red-crested Pochard on Tringford. 1 Swallow at Wilstone with 3 Sand Martins.

David Hutchinson - A very brief visit to Wilstone this afternoon. Pretty quiet really. Male Goldeneye and a single Wheatear.
Wheatear by David Hutchinson

 Tuesday 1st April 2014.
Jeff Bailey (HBC) - 3 Little Gulls at Wilstone this evening.

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.

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