December 2015


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

HMWT Winter walk at Wilstone Reservoir Nature Reserve.  
Sat. 23rd January 11:00-1:00pm
To book  click here or call 01727 858901. 
Wintering ducks and waders hopefully. 

HMWT have set some dates for co-ordinated roost watches for wintering Bitterns. The dates are: Wed 11th Nov, Wed 16th Dec, Sun 17th Jan,Wed 17th Feb and Wed 16th March. All the main Bittern sites across Herts will be doing a roost watch on the same day including: Stockers/Springwell Reedbeds (Colne Valley) , Panshanger Park, Amwell, Stanstead, Innings, Rye Meads, North Met Pit, 70 Acres Lake, Bowyers Water and Tring Reservoirs in an attempt to get a count of the number of Bitterns wintering in Herts. We are aiming to cover both Marsworth and Wilstone and will be watching the reed beds from about an hour before sunset until it gets dark, Johne will be at Wilstone and I will be at Marsworth, if you can help see you there. Or if anyone sees a Bittern any day, but particularly on these days please let us know. Thanks Lynne.

We’ll be cutting back willow encroachment onto the reed throughout the Winter, in order to protect this vitally important habitat. Wilstone: 24th Nov, 1st Dec and 22nd Dec, 7th Jan & 16th Feb. Marsworth: 3 rd Dec, 21st Dec, 13th Jan & 9th Feb. If you’d like to come along and lend a helping hand, please contact our Reserves Officer on

Tuesday 29th December 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Today was very pleasant compared to recent days and now that the work on Startops and Tringford has finished the water levels have risen noticeably in the past few days. On Wilstone the Shelduck, a male Goldeneye have been present for a while. A female Red-crested Pochard is also about and a male Peregrine was after Lapwing and caught one and landed with it in the field next to the reservoir behind the jetty.
On Startops the Scaup’s moult is progressing nicely and it hopefully will stay to 2016 and also to reach full adult plumage. Today two Egyptian Geese were on the paddock adjacent to the canal next to Startops.
I have attached a photo of the confiding Robin near the hide at Marsworth that includes part of the ring it is sporting. If this isn’t enough to identify the ring I have another photo showing a different part of the ring if that is helpful.

Scaup by Roy Hargreaves

Robin by Roy Hargreaves

Red Kite by Roy Hargreaves

Bittern roosting at 16:35 by Ian Bennell

Scaup by Ian Bennell

3 Dabchicks on Startops by Peter Brazier. 

Monday 28th December 2015.
Peter Brazier - The Mince Pies and Mulled Wine went down well this morning as we were treated to mild temperatures and solid sunshine. A Chinese Water Deer entertained us by running across the spit in front of the hide sending all the ducks, gulls and herons flying. A Kingfisher sat for a long time on a branch high up opposite the hide and the Lapwing and Golden plover put on thier usual displays. Thanks to James for the photo's.

Chinese Water Deer by James Heron

Kingfisher by James Heron

Golden Plover by James Heron

Chinese Water Deer by James Heron

Meadow Pipit by James Heron

Grey Wagtail by by James Heron

Shoveler by James Heron

Farms Insect Habitat by James Heron

The Hide by James Heron

Wednesday 23rd December 2015.
Michael Stallwood - We took the grandchildren to Marsworth this afternoon to see the starling murmuration. Unfortunately the starlings did not appear, but as a huge bonus we saw 3 Bitterns, the grandchildren were overjoyed. There were several other people there watching, one of the guys was very helpful in allowing the grandchildren to look through his scope at the Bitterns, whoever he is many thanks to him.

Sunday 13th December 2015.
Roy Hargreaves - Today was WeBS count day and it started off cold, damp and murky. The birds were pretty good though. While counting from the hide at Wilstone at 9:35 I watched a Knot fly in and join the Golden Plover flock and then proceed to hide itself in their midst. A reasonable number of people saw it before it flew off at 11:20. Wilstone also had Shelduck, 100+ Shoveler, a male Goldeneye and a Peregrine flew through and caused pandemonium. On Startops the 1st winter male Scaup is progressing nicely into adult plumage and hopefully will stay to January. Also a pair of Red-crested Pochard were on Startops and Marsworth last thing 15 Corn Buntings flew in and two Bitterns were in the same scope view as they roosted and a third was seen off to their left.

Saturday 12th December 2015.
Buzz Garfield - Rob Robin of Marsworth.

Saturday 12th December 2015.
James Heron - Wilstone Today.

Saturday 5th December 2015.
James Heron - The hide Robin made me feel like an intruder! He was running around the hide floor almost oblivious to me. The Marsworth Murmur was a great show.

Bob in the Startops hide by James Heron

Great Crested Grebe landing by James Heron

Starling murmuration by James Heron 

Starling murmuration by James Heron

Starling murmuration by James Heron

Starling murmuration by James Heron

Thursday 3rd December 2015.
Gary Hinton - Just a couple of shots from yesterday! The light was so bad I couldn't really get anything worth sending. Although the new seat at Tringford maybe of interest to some though.
I spoke with a guy from the canal / waterway trust who had put it in that morning, explaining how it took at least four chaps to manoeuvre it into place with one on traffic control. I also asked him if there was any news on the repair to the hide seating: said he'd take a look into that. He also went into great length on how he controlled the water levels in the area, explaining that Wilstone was at present only getting water from near by springs. Some number of locks had also been left without sufficient levels, due to bad management from uses of the canals, and lack of rainfall adding to the water shortages. He said that Tringfood & Startops will fill up very quickly once the works are completed, to which the workforce seem to be saying will be on Tuesday next. It seems likely there's going to be an extension for some extra works on startops, as well a check to to see if its all been completed as per contract. I must say if anyone does bump into this chap its well worth a chat. (ed. I think that was Ricky!) 
New Bench at Tringford

Golden Plover by Gary Hinton

Little Egret by Gary Hinton

Thursday 3rd December 2015.
Laura Baker HMWT Reserves Officer - Over the last week or so at Wilstone Reservoir we've been coppicing the willow stand to the left of the hide, to give you a better view over the reservoir. Our next volunteer work party will be on the 22nd December, when we will be in the reed beds cutting back willow encroachment. Come along and join in!

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