January 2015


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

Friday 30th January 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - Some more pictures from the reservoirs today;
Robin by Sarah Murtagh

Mallard Duck by Sarah Murtagh

 by Sarah Murtagh

Wood Pigeon by Sarah Murtagh

Kestrel by Sarah Murtagh

Sean Hinks - And these sent in of a Peregrine Falcon over Wilstone by Sean Hinks taken at Wilsone last Friday.
Peregrine Falcon by Sean Hinks

Peregrine Falcon by Sean Hinks

Peregrine Falcon by Sean Hinks

Wednesday 28th January 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - Some pictures from the sunny part of the day;
Herons Squabbling by Sarah Murtagh

Day Moon above Wilstone by Sarah Murtagh

Ice Reflection by Sarah Murtagh

Light through the Poplars by Sarah Murtagh

Sun Rays by Sarah Murtagh

Roy Hargreaves - This morning I decided to cover all of the reservoirs – albeit briefly. Starting at Wilstone I saw five Goldeneye including one adult male off to the left from the jetty and also a female Greater Scaup was in the same area. It may be the bird from early on in the month but where it has been in the meantime is a mystery as it clearly hasn’t eluded everyone for all that time by being on Wilstone. I also saw a Shelduck on the mud in front of the hide as I was walking round but it had flown off before I reached the old overflow, never mind the hide.

Tringford looked to be completely lacking Red-crested Pochards so I guess College Lake is hosting them. Startops had one Little Egret on the feeder stream but it was so far up it you could only see it when walking along the pavement next to Tringford.

Wednesday 21st January 2015.
Sally Douglas - As it is quiet at the reservoirs, the lone Fieldfare has been joined by a pair of Blackcaps feeding in my Tring garden. Photo's are a little fuzzy because they are taken through my glass kitchen window which needs cleaning! My neighbour down the road told me she had a pair of Blackcaps in her garden so I was hoping they would appear some time. In the second photo the pale neck ring shows up quite well. The Fieldfare is very protective of his apples and the other birds can only feed on them while he has a comfort break!
Blackcap by Sally Douglas

Blackcap by Sally Douglas

Blackcap by Sally Douglas

Blackcap by Sally Douglas

Wednesday 21st January 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - On Sunday I did the WeBS count and the largest counts were 210 Shoveler and 405 Eurasian Teal across all of the reservoirs. The Shoveler have moved off the smaller reservoirs but this is still three times the number I counted in November so quite an influx. Three Goldeneye were present and no sign of the male Pintail.

On Monday I saw a Chiffchaff and Marsh Tit at Wilstone but little else of note. 

Tuesday it was very cold, fairly calm, and sunny so I decided to see if Marsworth had iced up enough to push a Bittern up into the Phragmites or indeed onto the ice. As it turned out although it was very cold there was little ice on Marsworth and Wilstone had far more but not into the reeds. I saw a few Corn Buntings leaving the roost at Marsworth and ten Red-crested Pochards were still on Tringford along with a Little Grebe close to the bank adjacent to the road. On Wilstone I saw two Little Egrets and a Goldeneye and the Goldeneye was fairly close to the bank for a change and the light was really good. Also this Meadow Pipit was very co-operative and in good light by the jetty as was this fine male Pochard.
Pochard by Roy Hargreaves

Red-crested Pochard by Roy Hargreaves

Little Grebe by Roy Hargreaves

Meadow Pipit by Roy Hargreaves

Goldeneye (f) by Roy Hargreaves

Today it was dull and dank but a little warmer and proof that birds are on the move even in the depths of winter was provided by four new Goldeneye putting in an appearance at Wilstone – two adult males and two females turned up to add to the single adult female that was already there.

Monday 19th January 2015.
A bit out of the area but a significant local bird is the long staying Great Grey Shrike near Slapton Lock on the Canal. It moves around the area of bridge 118 and the area east of there. Dave Hutchinson got these fantastic shots today.
Great Grey Shrike by David Hutchinson

Great Grey Shrike by David Hutchinson

Great Grey Shrike by David Hutchinson

Great Grey Shrike by David Hutchinson

Saturday 17th January 2015.
Sarah Murtagh -
Gull Roost over Wilstone by Sarah Murtagh

Grey Herons at Marsworth by Sarah Murtagh

Mute Swan by Sarah Murtagh

Blue Tit by Sarah Murtagh

Mute Swan by Sarah Murtagh

Sunset over Wilstone by Sarah Murtagh

Sunset over Wilstone by Sarah Murtagh

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was better than expected but still had a few snow showers to hinder viewing at times. By contrast this afternoon was sunny and quite pleasant. Starting at Wilstone I headed for the hide as it started to snow as I arrived. From the hide there was a small fringe of ice and good numbers of dabbling ducks and a small flock of Snipe were off to the right. The highlight was a lone male Northern Pintail roosting on the water. Walking back towards the car park I met up with David Bilcock and we watched two Goldeneye and a Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid, resembling a male Lesser Scaup (see attached photo), is probably the same one as seen in recent winters. I didn’t see much on the small reservoirs this morning but Ian told us that the flock of eleven Red-crested Pochard was still on Tringford.
This evening I tried again for the Bittern and several of us saw one or possibly two Barn Owls hunting over the meadows behind the reservoir but again no sign of a Bittern.
Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid by Roy Hargreaves

Friday 16th January 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning I managed to see one of the Miswell Farm Little Owls for the first time this year. It obviously wasn't too windy or wet for it to have sought shelter before I walked down. Wilstone has little mud and the bit in front of the hide will disappear soon I'm sure. From the jetty I again couldn't find any Goldeneye and haven’t seen the Scaup since the 2nd but it may reappear. What is noticeable is the large number of Shoveler on Wilstone at the moment as they are seemingly everywhere. My disappointment at not seeing the Goldeneye from the jetty was more than compensated for by finding this splendid male and these two adult females in the area between the car park steps and the overflow. They were closer to the bank than normal so I took advantage of this fact before moving on to the hide. From the hide several Common Snipe can be seen along the edges of the reed bed and I could actually see sufficient Bulrush to keep a Penduline Tit happy for at least a morning so I'm not giving up hope yet of one turning up. A Little Egret was in the creek and flew to the trees up by the Watercress beds.
Goldeneye females by Roy Hargreaves

Goldeneye drake by Roy Hargreaves

Thursday 15th January 2015.
Lynne Lambert - We put a new Kestrel Box up at the Water Treatment Works on Tuesday. We were also surprised to find a Barn Owl in one of the boxes we went to repair. In another box we found two Barn Owls with an egg - so it looks as though they are off to an early start this year.

FoTR supported the costs for rebuilding the box and thanks to the Bucks Owl and Raptor Group for carrying out the work!
Barn Owl by Lynne Lambert

New Water works Kestrel Box by Karen Thomas. 

Saturday 10th January 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning it was breezy and drizzly and hard work checking through the duck. Unsurprisingly the water level has continued to rise and will no doubt cover the exposed mud over the coming weeks. Highlights at Wilstone were three Little Egrets and a Raven that was calling near the hide and over the trees. Tringford held three Little Egrets and eleven Red-crested Pochards and Startops had one Little Egret. Marsworth had vocal and visible Water Rails and while looking for the mythical Bittern the Corn Buntings came in to roost in small numbers.

Yesterday walking round Wilstone the highlights were a singing Marsh Tit and two singing Treecreepers.

Friday 9th January 2015.
Richard Birch (BBOWT Chilterns Group). - Enjoyed a very breezy circuit of reservoirs this morning the main item of interest being three pairs of red crested pochard showing mating behaviour on Tringford near the dam and a pair of GCG already displaying on Marsworth. Too windy to scrutinise Wilstone properly but plenty of water fowl bobbing up and down.

I Shall be leading a group walk for BBOWT on Sat 17 January starting from the Startops car park at 10.30 am. Details on BBOWT website. Here:

Tringfords frisky Red-crested Pochards by James Heron

Thursday 8th January 2015.
James Heron - Sunny afternoon after the deluge with water levels high. Just walked around to the jetty and back.
Pied Wagtail by James Heron

Fieldfare in a field by James Heron

Great Crested Grebe by James Heron. 

Friday 2nd January 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was very different from yesterday as the sun was out and the wind speed was reduced. From the jetty the 1W Greater Scaup was relatively close for a change but the photo is still only a record shot. Also four Goldeneye were about – including one male. Tringford had four Red-crested Pochard returned from College Lake and two Little Egrets were also about.

This afternoon Marsworth had several active Water Rails moving round the edges of the reed beds and at least sixty Corn Buntings flew in to roost but only one or two perched on tree tops before diving into the reeds.
Greater Scaup by Roy Hargreaves

Sally Douglas - Every year for the past 2 or 3 years, a lone Fieldfare arrives in my Tring garden to feast on fallen apples. There are no others joining him and I am convinced it is the same bird. It has very distinctive white wedges on the leading edge of the wings which is what first caught my eye. Normally, they are very flighty in the field but this bird is quite happy arriving before it is fully light and remaining until well into dusk. It disappears for 10 mins now and again and I took the opportunity to photo its droppings which were pure, processed apple! Unfortunately, the resident Blackbirds consumed all the apples so I am having to buy pristine apples just for its consumption, but considering the journey it has made to find my garden each year, this is the least I can do!
Fieldfare by Sally Douglas

Fieldfare by Sally Douglas

Fieldfare by Sally Douglas

Fieldfare poo by Sally Douglas

Fieldfare by Sally Douglas

Thursday 1st January 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was quite a contrast with yesterday being dull and breezy with light rain in the air at times. I started the year at Wilstone Res and very pleased to see a juvenile male Peregrine, although I've no doubt the birds it tried to catch were less enthusiastic about its presence. Also at Wilstone one male and three female Goldeneye were scattered about and a Little Egret was mobile. The Red-crested Pochard flock normally on Tringford had relocated to College Lake and a lone Little Egret and Kingfisher were the best birds to be seen. Marsworth had Cetti’s Warbler and Water Rails calling and this evening the Bittern was elusive to the point of invisibility.

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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