February 2015


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

AGM - The FoTR AGM will be held on the 17th April at Wilstone Village Hall. 
Our guest speaker, wildlife photographer Chris Ward will give us an illustrated talk on wildlife in and around our wetlands.
Refreshments will be served and there is no charge. Click Here for more. 

Saturday 28th February 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - I went to the Plover hide on Friday. Saw the usual pair of swans, a greenfinch, bullfinches, blue tits, ducks & reed bunting.

Reed Bunting by Sarah Murtagh

Tufted Duck (stroppy) by Sarah Murtagh

Friday 27th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was lovely and good to be out after missing yesterday. Starting at Wilstone from the jetty I could see at least five Goldeneye – two males. On the way to the hide I could see two male and one female Pintail roosting under the trees between the hide and old overflow and from the hide a pair of Pintail swam out from the Drayton Bank bushes to make five in all. Walking back from the hide I heard several Siskins fly over – obviously taking advantage of the nice weather to move. Again there was a Little Egret in the field opposite the car park.

On the causeway I spent time with a small flock of Long-tailed Tits as they were in no hurry to move on. It isn’t hard to see why Long-tailed Tits look so fluffy in this photograph when you look at the structure of the breast feathers. I haven’t gone through all of my photos yet to see if I can read the ring but it might be possible. Otherwise a male Mandarin on Tringford was my personal highlight for the day.

James Heron -

Over the Jetty - Greylag by James Heron

Dunnock  by James Heron
Little Egrets opposite the Winstone car park.  by James Heron

Charles Jackson - There was a good count of 144 Shoveller at Marsworth and the Barnacle Goose was still loafing around with the Canada flock either on the water or grazing in the horse field....see attached shots.
Barnacle Goose by Charles Jackson

Barnacle and Canada Goose by Charles Jackson

Thursday 26th February 2015.
Lynne Lambert - The Corn Buntings in the pre-roost gathering this afternoon were singing in the trees above the causeway. A group of 12 went in to roost and later another group of 14.

Wednesday 25th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - The light drizzle this morning made me think that today wouldn’t be as exciting as the past few days and this was largely the case. On Wilstone I couldn’t find the Egyptian Geese but they could have been hidden in the bushes. I could also only find one pair of Pintail and certainly not the eight birds reported yesterday. I did manage a male Peregrine as it flew off to the north-west having seemingly flown out of the poplars. I managed eight Goldeneye and three of those were displaying males trying to attract the attention of the attendant females. One Little Egret was in the field opposite the car park.

On the smaller reservoirs one Little Egret was roosting at Tringford and the Canada Geese were several fields away and largely obscured from the reservoir banks so the Barnacle Goose could still be about.

Tuesday 24th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - For those interested in such things the Barnacle Goose is a 1st winter bird and has a mixture of mainly dark juvenile wing-coverts with adult-type grey feathers with broad black sub-terminal bars and obvious white tips growing through. This photo clearly shows the different feather types.
Barnacle Goose by Roy Hargreaves

James Heron - a few from the reservoir today.
Shovellers galore - by James Heron

Gadwall reflection by James Heron

Gadwall reflections by James Heron

Roy Hargreaves - Although a little breezy this morning was lovely and sunny. At Wilstone from the jetty five Goldeneye, including two males, were over to the left and I saw two Egyptian Geese disappearing behind the central bushes. From the overflow the hybrid resembling a Lesser Scaup was fairly close in and from there I could see five Pintail in the hide area. From the hide the five Pintail were visible and the two Egyptian Geese swam out towards the hide before turning back and disappearing into the bushes again. As they did two Pintail swam out to the right so there may have been seven but I only ever saw five at the same time.

On the smaller reservoirs the highlight was a Barnacle Goose with Canadas by the canal next to Startops. It was feeding there contentedly then flew onto the water before flying on to the paddocks on the other side of the canal. Apparently a Barnacle Goose was reported from College Lake yesterday so I assume it is the same bird and that it may linger.
Egyptian Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Egyptian Geese by Roy Hargreaves

Barnacle Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Monday 23rd February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Having had a text about a Goosander at Wilstone last thing I headed round to the hide in the vain hope it had stayed overnight. On the way to the hide I saw three Pintail which I assume were yesterday’s birds. From the hide I did a sweep and saw a pair of Pintail, then another pair and finally the three. So in all seven Pintail were present this morning and four of them were males. Also two Little Egrets in the field opposite the car park and at least four Goldeneye – two males. Also in the sunny conditions I saw three Red Kites and two Buzzards. The highlight was hearing a Coal Tit as I walked back to the hide for the second time in order to get this Pintail photo.
Pintail by Roy Hargreaves

Sunday 22nd February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Having birding friends over from Finland we had gone over to the Stour Estuary yesterday so this morning was the first time I’d been to the reservoirs since Tuesday. The overflow, as it was on Tuesday, is now living up to its name at Wilstone. From the jetty I could see no sign of the Scaup but five Goldeneye, including one male, were by the reeds. My friends and I bumped into Steve Rodwell who then subsequently phoned me about a male Pintail he could see by the hide. We got to the hide to see two males and a female Pintail in front of the hide and while we were sat there I saw an Egyptian Goose fly in and land on a tern raft. After a while the  Egyptian Goose left the tern raft and flew round to settle by the bushes and we saw it again stood in the bushes. There was also a Little Egret in the field opposite the car park which had a metal ring on its left leg.

The smaller reservoirs had little extra with a Little Egret on Tringford being the best of the birds over there.
P.S. there was a Blackcap singing in my garden this morning so birds are definitely thinking it will be spring soon :-)
Pintail by Roy Hargreaves

Egyptian Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Friday 20th February 2015.
Lynne Lambert - Had a short walk at Marsworth at dusk yesterday and counted 120 Shoveler, all in pairs, circling furiously as they fed. There had been small flocks of just males flying over in the morning, it made me wonder how important Tring was as a place for Shoveler to meet up before they head off to their breeding sites. Also 14 Great Crested Grebes displaying and a Little Grebe on Startops. Had good close views of a Water Rail in the side ponds by Lock 43.

Ian Bennell - A couple of record shots of tonight's adult Mediterranean Gull at Wilstone Reservoir. My 1st Tring Med Gull.
Mediterranean Gull by Ian Bennell

Mediterranean Gull by Ian Bennell

Tuesday 17th February 2015.

Sarah Murtagh - A great day today, saw 2 Kingfishers, a Vole, Swans, Ducks, Blue Tits, a Reed Bunting (I think), a Heron, Bullfinches and a Blackbird! The Kingfishers were chasing each other around and just too quick for me! All from the Plover Hide.  
Kingfishers by Sarah Murtagh

Kingfisher by Sarah Murtagh

Mute Swans by Sarah Murtagh

Fluffy Swan by Sarah Murtagh

Reed Bunting by Sarah Murtagh

Vole by Sarah Murtagh

Sally Douglas - Marsworth 16.00 - 17.30 No sign of the bittern but good to see the Corn Bunting roost - approx 70-75 birds. Perched in tree right across the reed bed before sweeping into the reed bed so very distant photo;s.
Corn Bunting Roost by Sally Douglas

Corn Bunting Roost by Sally Douglas

Corn Bunting Roost by Sally Douglas

Monday 16th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning Wilstone had a female Pintail, the 1st winter female Greater Scaup and seven Goldeneye on it. Tringford had one Little Egret.

Here is a picture of the female Northern Pintail from this morning. Not the world’s best but they never do seem to get that close to the banks or the hide.
Northern Pintail by Roy Hargreaves

Sunday 15th February 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - A few pictures from the Plover Hide today.

Bullfinches by Sarah Murtagh

Bullfinch by Sarah Murtagh

Greenfinch by Sarah Murtagh

Blue Tit by Sarah Murtagh

Long Tailed Tit by Sarah Murtagh

Woodpigeon by Sarah Murtagh

Robin by Sarah Murtagh

Tufted Duck by Sarah Murtagh

Saturday 14th February 2015.
James Heron -
Dunnock by James Heron

Wilstone by James Heron

Getting nesting by James Heron

Goldeneye by James Heron

Friday 13th February 2015.
Sean Hinks - When I arrived at Wilstone the wind was noticeably strong and made for choppy waters. I took a walk round to the jetty to see if I could spot the Female Greater Scaup and Goldeneye's. There was no sign of any Goldeneye's but I'm fairly certain I spotted the Female Greater Scaup about 3/4's of the way out from the jetty and the trees. I then made my way back past the car park to the hide. In the corner by the old overflow were a number of Shovelers and Teal (Male and Female). I spent a couple of hours in the hide with not much to note. To the right of the hide settled just out from the reeds were another group of Shovelers, 15-20 Male and Females I'd guess, a Heron kept making trips back and forth from the trees in front of the hide to the trees to the right of it and just before I left a little egret flew across the front of the hide from right to left. On the walk back to the car I spotted the little egret perched in trees of to the left of the hide and a number of Pochards were spread across the reservoir.
Moving onto the smaller reservoirs, both were very quiet and only had a small group of Shovelers. I made my way round to the corner of Marsworth to see if I could spot a Kingfisher but again very quiet, not even the friendly Robin made an appearance. It then started to rain so I called it a day.
Cormorant in flight by Sean Hinks

GCG riding the waves by Sean Hinks

Grey Heron in flight by Sean Hinks

Tufted Duck by Sean Hinks

Shoveler in flight by Sean Hinks

Ray of light over Wilstone by Sean Hinks

Wednesday 11th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves -Just a quick update to say that the 1st winter female Greater Scaup and seven Goldeneye (2 males) were still present at Wilstone this morning. Little else of note to report. While I’m enjoying the calm mornings they make for murky conditions as seemingly little in the way of movement although it could be the time of year.P.S. I could hear the male Goldeneye calling this morning as they displayed – that was certainly an interesting noise.

Monday 9th February 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Yesterday was a lovely day and it was very pleasant to be out doing the WeBS counts. I thought that given that I had found the Greater Scaup on Friday and Saturday with relative ease I thought it would be on the count on Sunday – wrong!! Could I find it, could I ‘eck. To rub salt into the wounds it was again easy to find this morning off to the left of the jetty and all seven Goldeneye were together directly in front of the jetty. The sunny weather on Sunday had fooled some birds into singing or displaying but I hadn’t been carrying my camera so as to concentrate on the counts. Anyway it was pleasing to note that the Teal that had been close inshore yesterday were still close, even though the light wasn’t great today. By the hide a Treecreeper was singing and on the Dry Canal this Dunnock was also singing. The days are getting noticeably longer at the moment and spring migrants will be on the agenda in less than two months time ;-)

Also for those that don’t know David Bilcock, and possibly others for all I know, heard a Bittern booming and then saw it briefly in flight at Marsworth last night so it is there.
Teal by Roy Hargreaves

Dunnock by Roy Hargreaves

Saturday 7th February 2015.

Roy Hargreaves - This morning Ian and I arrived at Wilstone a pretty much the same time. At the top of the steps a quick scan revealed a male Shelduck off to the right in the middle of a flock of Black-headed Gulls. We headed round to the jetty and while there a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull flew over us and after flying round the Yellow-legged Gull settled on the water among the barley bales. Six Goldeneye, including 2 males, were directly in front of us. David Bilcock joined us and the Shelduck flew off in an easterly direction but wasn’t relocated on the smaller reservoirs or on College Lake. The Yellow-legged Gull, one the yesterday’s birds, flew past us and headed off in an easterly direction too and this photo revealed a few signs of immaturity on the primary-coverts but otherwise the wing pattern is typical of a Yellow-legged Gull – particularly the fairly broad black sub-terminal mark on the 5th primary. Scanning the ducks revealed the 1st winter female Greater Scaup was off to the left from the jetty and was active and spent most of its time under water, making it fairly awkward to keep track of it. On the walk back to the car park we also saw a Little Egret.
Yellow-legged Gull by Roy Hargreaves

The smaller reservoirs were pretty quiet and the highlight was a Kingfisher.

Yesterday evening David texted me about an adult Mediterranean Gull in the roost at Wilstone and so I dashed down to see it. It had most of its jet-black hood with some white on the face around the bill. This evening more people turned up but predictably there was no Mediterranean Gull and three Herring Gulls flying over was the highlight at the roost.

Friday 6th February 2015.

Roy Hargreaves - First thing this morning it was calm, sunny and the ground was firm under foot for my walk round Wilstone Res. A Little Owl was in the usual Willow on Miswell Farm and Red Kites were up early enjoying the conditions as I walked down. There was a Chinese Water Deer in Rushy Meadow and a vocal Marsh Tit in the trees between the Waddesdon Estate gate and the Cemetery Corner. Unusually one of the Redwings stayed in the hedge as I walked to the jetty and while the lighting wasn't ideal I couldn't resist taking photos of it. From the jetty I could see five Goldeneye (2 males, 3 females) in front of me and a lone female by the bank near the car park steps. Also a 1st winter female Greater Scaup was spending most of its time asleep in front of the bushes where the two banks meet in the middle. I met up with David Bilcock and we watched what turned out to be an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gull with a Less Black-backed Gull – although determining the leg colours was difficult in the strong sunlight. There was a narrow icy fringe round the reservoir and this seemed to make the Pied Wagtails more confiding and certainly easier to photograph than is normal.
Redwing by Roy Hargreaves
Pied Wagtail by Roy Hargreaves
Tuesday 3rd February 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - Some geese and starlings in the snow for you. These were opposite the hide in the field yesterday.
Greylags in the Snow by Sarah Murtagh

Starlings by Sarah Murtagh

Greylags in the Snow by Sarah Murtagh
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.

No comments:

Post a Comment