May 2015


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

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Please Note: We will be changing the lock code on the Plover Hide at the Water Treatment works on 1st May. You should have received an e-mail with the new code. If you have not please contact us. 

Bill George (FoTR), Iain Brown (C&RT Volunteer Lock Keeper) and Wayne Moore (C&RT Volunteer Leader) fitting the new bench by the old overflow at Wilstone. 
A panorama from the new bench by James Heron

Sunday 31st May 2015.
David Hutchinson - Many Swifts, Martins and Swallows over Startops this morning in the drizzle but no sign of Flycatcher(s). Highlight of the day was watching a Hobby pursue and catch a Swift over Marsworth Reservoir. 
Sand Martin over Startops by Dave Hutchinson

Saturday 30th May 2015.
Lucy Flower - Definitely one, likely two Flycatchers still favouring the mature Ash trees by the overflow @ Startops. Also newly fledged Robins in there and a family of Wrens. Chaffinches also flycatching from those trees. It's obviously rich with insects. As well as the Ringed Plover, also 2 Yellow Wagtails at Wilstone this morning. One collecting food presumably for young. 
Spotted Flycatcher by Lucy Flower

Yellow Wagtail by Lucy Flower

Sarah Murtagh - Went to the plover hide this morning. Please can I thank the team for such a grand clean up job there, it looks great. Saw a cuckoo and 2 kingfishers today but they were too quick or far away for my camera. Had a greenfinch land on the windowsill right by me...I don't know who was more shocked! Saw a heron fly over a swan, a reed bunting and the usual pigeons. And the gorgeous ducklings that were by Startops this morning. 
Duckling by Sarah Murtagh

Greenfinch by Sarah Murtagh

Grey Heron and a Mute Swan by Sarah Murtagh

Roy Hargreaves - It would appear that the Common Terns have all abandoned Wilstone tern rafts as I couldn’t see any there this morning after I was one mobbing a Carrion Crow. The Oystercatchers are still there and Little Egrets in the bushes. The unusual bird was this Ringed Plover on the pier, it was very confiding and made the recent Turnstone seem quite wary. Startops had Redshank, male Red-crested Pochard and Oystercatcher and Marsworth had male Cuckoo and this Reed Warbler proving they don’t stick to reed beds. 
Reed Warbler by Roy Hargreaves

Ringed Plover by Roy Hargreaves

Monday 25th May 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning’s walk round all of the reservoirs gave the impression that breeding was in full-swing but the temperatures didn’t fell remotely like summer. The Little Egret was still firmly on its nest and a male Cuckoo flew to Wilstone from the direction of the smaller reservoirs. While I was walking along the Dry Canal a Shelduck flew over the ridge above there calling. An Oystercatcher is still sat on the tern raft with its mate flying in regularly.
Marsworth also had Cuckoo calling and a Redshank flew across it towards Startops. Startops still had the male Red-crested Pochard and one, or probably two, Spotted Flycatchers were calling and active by the bench and the overflow footbridge in the taller trees there. Also two Shelduck flew over calling and possibly heading to College Lake.
It was interesting to note that certainly one Spotted Flycatcher had a ring on its right leg. My photos aren't good enough to read the ring though. 
Chaffinch by Roy Hargreaves

Red-crested Pochard by Roy Hargreaves

Spotted Flycatcher by Roy Hargreaves

Spotted Flycatcher by Roy Hargreaves

Saturday 23rd May 2015.
Lucy Flower - Good to see your photos Roy and hear that the Stonechats are hanging in there. I spent some time watching the Pitstone LRPs this morning. The pair actually have 4 fledglings, all looking lively and of equal size. Wilstone mid-morning had 7+ Hobby over the reedbed and a Cuckoo was continually calling, moving from the SE woodland (near cemetery corner) round to the SW woods (near the hide). A couple of Grey Wagtail were flitting along the NW bank. 

Roy Hargreaves - This morning was overcast and dull and it definitely felt spring like migration was over. Five or six Little Egrets at Wilstone included at least one bird sat on a nest. An Oystercatcher was still sat resolutely on the tern raft and unlike the Common Terns didn’t budge when a Carrion Crow landed on the raft. Marsworth had Cuckoo calling which could have been the same bird that I heard earlier at Wilstone. I managed to photograph a fairly co-operative Reed Warbler as it gathered nest material as it was exposed enough and stayed in one place long enough. Startops had a male Red-crested Pochard on it, a Yellow Wagtail flying about and I could hear Spotted Flycatcher in the same area as last weekend but didn’t see it this time. A trip to the hills allowed me the chance to try and photograph Corn Bunting and in doing so I also photographed a Skylark as a bonus. The Stonechats were still about and there may have been three birds but one bird I saw was too distant and also seen too briefly to age. 
\Corn Bunting by Roy Hargreaves

Reed Warbler by Roy Hargreaves

Skylark by Roy Hargreaves

James Heron - A very distant Black Swan in murky light.
Black Swan by James Heron

Peter Brazier - Anyone know what the blue marks are at Wilstone? There is one every 20 metres or so all around the head bank. (Not fishing related is all I know.)

Thursday 21st May 2015.
Stewart Dennis - Just a bit further afield. On the disused canal from Aston Clinton to the Wendover Wides maybe seven broods of Mandarin with lots of ducklings and five drakes. Also good views of Little Grebe.
Mandarin Chicks by Stewart Dennis

Sunday 17th May 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - As usual I started the WeBS count at Tringford from the hide. Just to the right of the hide a Cetti’s Warbler was singing and was seemingly fairly close to the hide. Also two Egyptian Geese were about but mobile and a Cuckoo flew over. Moving on to Startops a Spotted Flycatcher was singing by the overflow footbridge from the tall ivy-clad trees. These days it is always a treat to see these birds in Spring. Also on Startops three Red-crested Pochard, two Yellow Wagtails that are possibly breeding and a family party of Grey Wagtails. There is also a family of Grey Wagtails and the photo is of a juvenile on Wilstone that was also there today but the photo was taken on Wednesday. Marsworth had Cuckoo and Cetti’s Warbler. Wilstone has a Little Egret sat on a nest and of course there may be others that can’t be seen so easily. Also a pair of Yellow Wagtails seem to be breeding in adjacent fields. Five Egyptian Geese on Wilstone no doubt included the two from Tringford and there also seems to be four adult Oystercatchers hanging round Wilstone but no sign of any chicks yet.
Juvenile Grey Wagtail by Roy Hargreaves

Saturday 16th May 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - With it being a sunny day I decided to go for the long walk from Ivinghoe Beacon to Marsworth and back. The beacon was full of butterflies with my favourites being the Duke of Burgundy and the Green Hairstreak. Down to the old church in Pitstone there were many Holly Blue butterflies along with the Brimstones and Orange Tips. After a well deserved drink in the Bluebells Tea Rooms it was off to sit in the corner of Marsworth where the Kingfishers were very active. A heron stood grabbed a coot chick and vanished deeper in the reed bed with its victim causing a bit of a stir.
There was also plenty of insect life around Marsworth including what I think is a Mint Moth - pyrausta aurata, the first time I have ever seen one. Above a Kestrel was on the hunt, seemingly ignoring the many visitors it took a bank vole from the edge of Startops. 
Click Beetle by Phill Luckhurst

Duke of Burgundy by Phill Luckhurst

Green Hairstreek by Phill Luckhurst

Holly Blue by Phill Luckhurst

Jumping Spider by Phill Luckhurst

Kestrel by Phill Luckhurst

Mint Moth by Phill Luckhurst

Friday 15th May 2015.
Lynne Lambert - Here is a quick update on the Water Works FoTR reserve: 
The two Barn Owl boxes are not being used by owls this year. One has Stock Doves in it and two Grey Squirrels ran out of the other one when we went to check. They had started building a dray within the box, there were no babies yet so we removed the nest material. (In case anyone is worried, apparently it only takes a squirrel 5-6 hours to build a new nest.) The 4 new tit boxes have all been snapped up. A week ago two of the boxes had Blue Tits sitting tightly on eggs and another had a Great Tit. The fourth box had a half finished nest with 1 cold egg that I didn’t expect to come to anything. Today when I checked that box there was a Blue Tit sitting firmly in a complete, full and feathery nest. One of the other Blue Tit nests had failed, something must have happened to the female because the nest appeared to have been abandoned just as the chicks were hatching. The Great Tits though had hatched and 7 chicks were looking very healthy.
No sign of anything using the new Kestrel box yet.
The Reed Warblers have returned and the reed bed is full of song. There is a male Cuckoo moving around between Wilstone, Marsworth and the FoTR reserve but no sign of any females yet. A family group of Long Tailed Tits was also there today with their youngsters calling incessantly.

Wednesday 13th May 2015.
Stewart Dennis - A good walk around the reservoirs in the sunshine and came across this family of mistle thrush in an ivy covered tree just six foot from a busy path. Must be second brood I guess.
Mistle Thrush by Stewart Dennis

Johne Taylor - Dear All,  Could I ask everybody to keep an eye on the large tern raft to see if the Oystercatcher chicks have hatched as I am not able to look myself. Let us know when they do so that we can have a note of the timing of hatching for the records.

Phill Luckhurst - James Heron - Marsworth, Startops & Tringford today. 
Pochard (m) by James Heron

Red-crested Pochard by James Heron

Common Tern by James Heron
Small White Butterfly by James Heron

Tuesday 12th May 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - An evening trip to Wilsone and the first surprise was that the Turnstone spotted by Steve the evening before was still hanging around the jetty. With it though a lot more timid was a Common Sandpiper. I spent a while on the jetty trying to photograph the many Swift, Swallows and Martins darting around and ended up filling a memory card. There were at least 7 Hobby flying around that corner too. As I was leaving a Redshank flew in and sat on the bank until Crow decided to land next to it so it flew off the one of the rafts where the Oystercatchers were. 
Heron by Phill Luckhurst

Swallow by Phill Luckhurst

Swift by Phill Luckhurst

Common Tern by Phill Luckhurst

Turnstone by Phill Luckhurst

Roy Hargreaves - Having had a brilliant weekend in Norfolk Monday morning was quiet with the Little Egrets antics keeping us interested. In the evening I received a phone call from Steve Rodwell about a Turnstone that was attempting to perch on a shooting butt. Sure enough I got there and it was perched precariously on the butt and the distant digiscoping efforts were really quite poor. At about 8:50 I looked at the shooting butt and the Turnstone had disappeared so I headed for home.
Today I got there early and was surprised to see the Turnstone stood on the end of the jetty. I walked round to the bench by the small wood and watched it from there until I was joined by David and Steve and then we got a little closer. It was unperturbed by our presence but it was still a surprise when it flew past us a few metres away and landed on the top of the bank about 20 metres away. This meant it was between us and the car park so we had to go past it and when we did it flew back towards the jetty. Eventually after checking from the hide I returned and got these photos of it on the lower bank. Tringford had two Egyptian Geese but no sign of the Garganey in a brief search but it could easily still be there.
Turnstone b y Roy Hargreaves

Turnstone by Roy Hargreaves
Mike Campbell (via twitter @MikeCampbell20) - The confiding Turnstone at Wilstone this morning. 
Turnstone by Mike Campbell. 
Monday 11th May 2015.
James Heron - Some shots from Wilstone today.

Hobby by James Heron

Hobby by James Heron

Sunday 10th May 2015.
Ian McConnell - Spent a couple of hours in the Plover Hide Sunday morning as I hadn’t visited for a while.  Photographed both Male and Female Kingfishers sitting on the tall reeds to the front left of the hide.  There were 2 Little Grebes that swam across between the hide and the island, as well as a Cormorant, a Single Common Tern, Male Mute Swan, Herons and a single Little Egret that flew round once then headed off towards Marsworth.  The reeds were full of warblers that were singing the whole time and there were also a pair of Bullfinches flying between the island and the hedges on the left, which also seemed to be full of Goldfinches.  As it warmed up there were a few Butterflies appearing, mainly Orange Tip and Brimstone and a single Green Veined White

All photos taken from the Plover Hide 
Kingfisher (f) by Ian McConnell

Green-veined White butterfly by Ian McConnell

Kingfisher (m) by Ian McConnell

Mute Swan by Ian McConnell

Orange-tip Butterfly by Ian McConnell

Saturday 9th May 2015.
Sarah Murtagh - I went to the Startops End this morning. Saw these ducklings,  a greylag goose, Canadian Geese, I heard a cuckoo, saw a bullfinch, a robin, 3 swans, and a heron.  I must get up at 6am more often! 

Thursday 7th May 2015.
Stewart Dennis - 2 female marsh harriers briefly over reeds right of hide at Wilstone 5.00pm and continued infront of hide and out of sight left. Then must have circled around and one seen going down into reeds again far right of hide. Also hobby in trees right of hide. 
Hobby by Stewart Dennis

Marsh Harrier by Stewart Dennis

Marsh Harrier by Stewart Dennis

Wednesday 6th May 2015.
Sally Douglas - Wilstone. Lots of activity on the rafts being used by Black-headed gulls and Terns. Unfortunately, a Canada Goose landed on the blue raft causing mayhem and probably destroying nests and eggs. 100's of Swifts and House Martins skimming over the water. No sight nor sound of cuckoo so went to Marsworth where I spotted it flying, very far away, and landing in a tree.

Wednesday 6th May 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning a male Garganey was still at Tringford, 2 Redshank were mobile round Startops but nothing else out of the ordinary.

Tuesday 5th May 2015.
Phill Luckhurst - Despite the strong winds and rain, todays late evening visit to Wilstone was absolutely superb. Swift, Martins and Swallow were seemingly everywhere. Swallow numbers were massive, I am not sure I have ever seen so many in one place. Mainly flying low over the water the whole res was a mass of speeding black dots. When the sun did shine through this changed into thousands of white flashes as the birds twisted and turned.
Swallow By Phill Luckhurst

Lynne Lambert - Fabulous photo of the wren. We heard 3 cettis singing at Marsworth and three Egyptian geese flew over at c12:30. There was also a Lesser Whitethroat singing.

Monday 4th May 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Today was very pleasant at the beginning and first thing at Wilstone seven Little Egrets were roosting in the fallen tree closest to the old overflow but soon dispersed. At 5:30 am I was surprised to see at least seven Hobby feeding over the reservoir – clearly yesterday’s damp weather had forced them into an early start. Swifts had certainly arrived in numbers since my last visit with at least 30 at Wilstone and another 30+ at the small reservoirs. The Cuckoo at Wilstone was very mobile and was pursued by Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns whenever it flew over the water. The smaller reservoirs had four mobile Common Sandpipers and a very co–operative Wren. I also saw my first Damselflies of the year as two hatched from my pond. I also saw a female Holly Blue and Orange Tip in my garden. Also the warmer weather had encouraged one or two of the newts in my pond to stay at the surface for longer than usual.
This afternoon I walked down to Wilstone and was surprised to see a Chinese Water Deer in the field between the Dry Canal and the Orchard. Also a male Muntjac in the field by the north corner. As I arrived at Wilstone five Egyptian Geese flew off. Also eight plus Hobby were effortlessly flying round and despite it being a sunny Bank Holiday Common Terns were landing on the end of the jetty and this Pied Wagtail was interesting as it clearly displayed moult contrast on the mantle and rump, between the darker new fathers and paler older feathers.
As I walked round to the hide I spotted a male Garganey flying out from the creek and it settled on the water to the right of the Drayton Bank bushes to feed with other dabbling ducks. Continuing on from the hide the rain came in earlier than I expected but I was fortunate to see a female Whinchat on the concrete posts, which I pointed out to a young couple – also we saw the Cuckoo and the Chinese Water Deer again so a good day out.
Wren by Roy Hargreaves

Newt by Roy hargreaves

Common Tern by Roy Hargreaves

Pied Wagtail by Roy Hragreaves

Muntjac Deer by Roy Hargreaves

Saturday 2nd May 2015.
Peter Brazier - New benches at Wilstone, paid for by Friends of Tring Reservoirs with help from the Canal and River Trust.
The new bench at the old overflow, Wilstone.
New FoTR bench on the North Corner at Wilstone

Roy Hargreaves - This morning no obvious visible passage today. Highlight was a male Garganey on Tringford, which makes me wonder if the male on Wilstone is different from this bird and that all three birds are still about. Startops has a pair of Red-crested Pochards. I did my BBS today over near Ivinghoe Aston and it was interesting to note a flock of 40 Linnets, which is unusual in my experience at the site. Friday night at least twelve Hobby were flying about and over 100 Common Terns were also there.

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.