December 2014


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

Wednesday 31st December 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - Yesterday was a lovely day with little wind and a sunny start. At Wilstone in a brief search I saw two redhead Goldeneye before heading to Startops. At Startops the highlight was six Goosander, including three splendid males. Here is part of the group before they flew off and headed towards Wilstone Res, where Ian Williams saw them in front of the hide. After that I spent two hours looking unsuccessfully for a Great Grey Shrike between Slapton and Grove from along the canal towpath. It is probably still in the area having been reported some time ago but no subsequent sightings until 30th December. It is clearly elusive at times and probably ranging over a fair-sized area.
Goosander on Tringford by Roy Hargreaves

Tuesday 30th December 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - I started at Marsworth today down in the corner. On arrival the ritual feeding of the friendly Robin commenced, I almost feel guilty if I do not have a little seed to give him. It was lovely down there today if a little cold to sit for long. There cannot be many places where you can sit with a Robin at your feet, a Kingfisher feeding and preening and a Water rail or two often popping out to say hello just a few feet away. A mink also ran along the fallen tree before panicking when it realised I was sitting there.

Over at Wilstone the path has become very slippery over the last few days. There were loads of Shoveler about, possibly all those that were frequenting Marsworth a few days ago adding to the existing numbers. The whistle of the large numbers of Teal was quite a sound too. Buzzard, Red Kite and a Kestrel were flying around the borders of the res but it took a Sparrowhawk flying through to send up the Golden Plover, Teal and Lapwing flocks.

I then went back to Marsworth to see if any Starlings were about as the sun set but there were very few. A couple of Corn Buntings flew over and a Bittern very briefly popped up above the reeds.
Robin by Phill Luckhurst

Buzzard by Phill Luckhurst

Graham Summerfield - A short walk around Startopsend and Tringford this cold December morning, with a good bit of both reservoirs still frozen over from the recent cold nights. 4 Red Crested Pochard, and the Little Grebe out on Startopsend, along with a number of usual Coots, Mallards & Tufted Duck. Couple of swans flew in mid-morning and a loan Fieldfare finding a few remaining berries to feast on.

Little Grebe by Graham Summerfield

Red-crested Pochard by Graham Summerfield

Red-crested Pochard by Graham Summerfield

Blackheaded gull by Graham Summerfield

Incoming Mute Swan by Graham Summerfield

Fieldfare by Graham Summerfield

Filedfare by Graham Summerfield

Sunday 28th December 2014.
Red Crested Pochard at Tringford by Richard Bennett
Mute Swan Family at Tringford by Richard Bennett

Little Egrets at Tringford by Richard Bennett

Saturday 27th December 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - Boy was it chilly this morning. I started from the Wilstone jetty and the juv Greater Scaup was still present and also four Goldeneye – one of which was a male. From the hide a Little Egret was in the creek. Tringford had nine Red-crested Pochard and only four Little Egrets. The water level on Wilstone continues to rise but Tringford and Startops are fairly low still.

James Heron - A pleasant wine and mince pie gathering at Wilstone hide.  Congratulations to the organisers for a very enjoyable festive assembly. Quite difficult to obtain a decent picture inside the hide, but...
Christmas Gathering in the Hide by James Heron

View from the hide by James Heron

Thursday 25th December 2014.
Peter Brazier - What a fantastic day to walk around the reservoirs. So many out for a Christmas day walk too. Little of note on the water but about 50+ ground feeding Fieldfare on Rushy Meadow and a Mistle Thrush up by the dry canal. Best of all was the sunshine.
Christmas Day panorama from the Drayton Hide

Happy Christmas to all Friends of Tring Reservoirs!
Thanks for your contributions to the website,
please keep them coming. 

Wednesday 23rd December 2014.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning started off overcast but then cleared to a beautiful sunny day. Wilstone had two adult male and three redhead Goldeneye from in front of the remnant of the spit. Tringford had eight Little Egrets and five Red-crested Pochards and Water Rails were calling from the Marsworth reed beds. Reeves’s Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer were active on the reservoir and surrounding fields.

On Saturday David Bilcock and I did a quick tour of the reservoirs and at Wilstone a juvenile Greater Scaup was still about and is probably a female as there is still no sign of male plumage showing through. Also four redhead Goldeneye were about and a lone Little Egret by the creek. Tringford had six Little Egrets and seven Red-crested Pochard.

In the evening we both turned out for the gull roost and it was just the commoner species. What was interesting was the presence of a Black-headed Gull with a large white Darvic ring unfortunately David could only read three of the four characters on it. David had read a ring on another bird previously and these birds have been ringed in Poland and I have attached the report that David received concerning one of them and this page has details about another seen recently

Happy Christmas


Friday 19th December 2014.
Red Kite by Roy Hargreaves
Roy Hargreaves - Having been on the Antipodes for three weeks it was good to get back and check out Wilstone Res this week. It is certainly obvious that the water level has risen while I have been away and continued this week. Monday was very pleasant in the sunny conditions and the Little Egret and Red Kites were taken then. It is interesting to note the affect that wear and tear has had on one Kite’s tail shape. It is clearly a Red Kite on its plumage but the tail shape could lead people astray if that was all you focussed on. Also on Monday two Goldeneye and a Black-tailed Godwit were about.

Red Kite by Roy Hargreaves

On Tuesday I saw three Goldeneye and a party of seven Bullfinch was a little unusual. Again the Godwit was still about and this fairly co-operative Meadow Pipit was by the jetty. With no sign of a Water Pipit yet I think we might be in for a blank winter on that score, but spring always had potential.
Meadow Pipit by Roy Hargreaves
Monday's Little Egret by Roy Hargreaves

Wednesday rain stopped play and on Thursday the water level had again risen obviously after Wednesday’s rain with little to show for it.

This morning a juv Scaup was out in one of the usual haunts of this autumn’s birds and no sign of the Black-tailed Godwit but maybe checking other local waters will reveal where it is.

Sunday 14th December 2014.
Phill Luckhurst - A long walk in the winter sunshine today was just what I needed after being injured and ill for the last few weeks. It seemed quite quiet on the water compared to this time last year, probably too much food elsewhere. Lots of meadow pipits around but far less in the way of Fieldfare. Was god to see so many Greenfinch up on the dry canal plus with a few Reed Bunting at Tringford. The rapidly growing willows at Startops held quite a few Thrushes when I walked through along with a pair of Grey Wagtail. Wilstone I found 4 Snipe and 1 Black Tailed Godwit. There also seem to be more Cormorant than ever before. Water levels are rising in Wilstone now pushing the wading birds into an ever shrinking area. A bit of a mixed blessing for photography, the birds get closer but many move on.
Reed Bunting by Phill Luckhurst

Cormorant in Flight by Phill Luckhurst

Greenfinch by Phill Luckhurst

Reed Bunting by Phill Luckhurst

Johne Taylor - Tring Ringing Group - 18 more Redwing ringed this am plus a Fieldfare and an adult Chiffchaff at Wilstone. 105 Meadow pipits ringed to date at Wilstone since late October too. 

Saturday 13th December 2014.
Peter Brazier - The weather today was excellent for walking. A lap of Wilstone revealed a Black-tailed Godwit visible to the right of the Drayton hide and a Dunlin to the left. Behind and through Rushy Meadow there were numerous Fieldfare and some Redwing. A Mistle Thrush was singing from the bushes along the dry canal. By Cemetery corner a Grey Wagtail was very active with the Alba's.  Gary Hinton reported large numbers of winter thrushes at Startopsend and similar numbers were reported by Andrew Steele at Marsworth. Gary also reported 4 Red-crested Pochard at Tringford and a Grey Wagtail.
View from the hide

View from the dry canal

Friday 12th December 2014.
Jeff Bailey (via HBC) - Wilstone: 10 Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit.

Thursday 11th December 2014.
Gary Hinton -
Dunny no whose looking at me

Fieldy fare play

Jennys give me a ring

Don’t move I might be seen says woody

Wednesday 10th December 2014.
Gary Hinton - Wilstone: Golden Plover, 2 Little Egret, 50+ Wigeon, 59+ Redwing, Kingfisher, 25+ Fieldfare Startopsend: 30+ Redwing, 30+ Fieldfare, Grey WagtailTringford: Kingfisher, 2 Red-crested Pochard. Marsworth: Kingfisher.

Tuesday 9th December 2014.
Gary Hinton - Marswoth, Grey Wagtail and a Peregrine Falcon. (Via HBC)

Friday 5th December 2014.
Graeme Culzean - Just a brief reminder that Opticron are having one of their quarterly Optics days tomorrow the 6th December 2014. A good opportunity to catch up on the latest bins and scopes, to try before you buy and or treat yourself or someone else for Christmas.
Opticron rep:-The very knowledgeable Chris Galvin
Venue:-Graham's Hide College Lake
Time:- From 09.30 onwards

Tuesday 2nd December 2014.
Lucy Flower - Managed a brisk walk around Wilstone reservoir late this afternoon before an appointment locally. Most notable species were large flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing, especially around the back, SW of cemetery corner and along the dry canal (approx 150+). Also large group of Redwing (approx 50+) in the woods behind the hide. On my last visit 16/11, I'd noticed a significant increase in Blackbirds around the site, especially along the dry canal and in the hedges surrounding the reservoir. Those numbers weren't so obvious this afternoon but still a fair few around. Didn't have time to call at the hide or scan the water in any detail but did notice a Common Gull in amongst the Black-headed Gulls coming to roost at 3:15pm.

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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