February 2016


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

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.

New Volunteer task dates at Wilstone and Marsworth Reservoirs:
We’ll be at Wilstone on the 5th, 16th and 18th February and Marsworth on the 9th and 23rd February. If you'd like to come along and help out, please contact Laura on laura.baker@hmwt.org. Thanks.

Please note the Volunteer Task Day on the 16th is now cancelled.

Saturday 27th February 2016.

James Heron - Very cold and almost empty reservoir today. Grebes looking well.

Wednesday 24th February 2016.

Sarah Murtagh - Saw these at Plover hide today.  I saw Robin,  heron,  sparrows, mallards,  teals, moorhen, coots. :-)

Friday 19th February 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - Last Saturday was drizzly and rubbish and birds were the usual suspects. Over Wilstone I saw two pairs of Raven having a brief aerial discussion as they flew in different directions. Marsworth was the real surprise as I found a Bittern stood in one of the cuts in the middle of the morning. While David and I watched it we had another Bittern fly from fairly close to the path across most of the reservoir and land on the edge of the reeds but after a couple of minutes that one disappeared into the reed.
During the week two Shelduck, presumably from College Lake, dropped in on Thursday and moved on quickly. Throughout the week the Aythya hybrid and three Goldeneye were present and a Little Egret was sporadic.
This morning I arrived at the hide in the gloom and two Egyptian Geese were stood on the small spit left in front of the hide and the three Goldeneye have moved to the hide end of the reservoir. I checked the fence by the Cemetery Corner and was pleased to see a male Stonechat in the sunshine. 
Bittern by Roy Hargreaves

Stonechat by Roy Hargreaves

Egyptian Goose by Roy Hargreaves

Wednesday 17th February 2016.
Lynne Lambert - I saw just one bittern tonight sitting in the reeds along the back of the reed bed at Marsworth, it straightened its head up, puffing out the neck feathers as a heron flew over its head. There was also a kingfisher and 30 great crested grebes.

Thursday 11th February 2016.
Johne Taylor with Mike Collard - Surprised to see female Marsh Harrier over reedbed at Wilstone this am 11th.  Possibly flew off into Bucks.

Wednesday 10th February 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - On Tuesday I walked round Wilstone and the usual long-staying birds were about: Shelduck, 3 Goldeneye and the aythya hybrid. Miswell Farm is now back to normal with parties of Black-headed Gulls and Fieldfare feeding on the fields but no sign of the Bonaparte’s. I did have an adult Mediterranean Gull fly over me as I walked through Miswell Farm and it appeared to have two small black tips to the outermost primaries of its left wing. Today I drove down and covered all of the reservoirs with the same results for Wilstone as on Tuesday. On Startops the Greater Scaup was still present and has very few immature feathers left on it and looks really good now. 
Greater Scaup by Roy Hargreaves

Fieldfare by Roy Hargreaves

Saturday 6th February 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - I didn’t make it to the reservoirs last weekend and on Monday when I did there was no sign of the Pintail flock on Wilstone. The aythya hybrid was still about this week and looks like it is the same one as turned up last winter as it has the same mark on its bill as that bird – a small spike of black extending up the bill from the black tip. On Thursday a male Pintail was on Wilstone briefly before flying off towards the other reservoirs or College Lake and a flock of 29 Common Snipe flew out from the reeds and three Little Egrets were mobile too. On Friday two Egyptian Geese were also brief visitors to Wilstone.
Today the weather wasn’t as bad as I feared but the rain did hamper viewing. Wilstone had the usual Shelduck, a couple of Goldeneye and the aythya hybrid. Startops had the Scaup in the Bucks section and Tringford had two male Shelduck that were all over the place. 
I do still look for the Bonaparte’s Gull but no sign now since 16th January means that it may have moved on.
Aythya Hybrid duck by Roy Hargreaves

Friday 5th February 2016.
Sally Douglas - Details for the ringed Black-headed Gull seen at Wilstone on the 3 February 12.30pm. It was ringed by the North Thames Gull Group at Rainham Tip on 16 November 2013 aged 4. Ring details: yellow plastic ring with black lettering 2CHP but under their ring reference EY45295, so 2 years 79 days for this sighting after ringing.

Wednesday 3rd February 2016.
Ian McConnell - I spent some time in the Plover hide Saturday, yesterday and today with the following noted: Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Goldcrests, Bullfinches (still not managed to photograph them!), Reed Bunting, Little Grebe, several Herons and quite a few Tufties and Pochard.
On the visit yesterday, a Little Grebe swam across right in front of the hide allowing me to get some nice shots, 2 attached.
On the brief visit on Saturday morning, I saw 2 Water Rails which flew from different positions to the island.  One of them climbed up onto broken reeds to the left of the hide before flying, allowing me my best shot yet of one of these rather shy birds.
Goldcrest by Ian McConnell

Heron by Ian McConnell

Little Grebe by Ian McConnell

Little Grebe by Ian McConnell

Water Rail by Ian McConnell

Wednesday 3rd February 2016.
Ian McConnell - Ref the sighting report earlier from Sally Douglas.  I looked up the ring code for the Black Headed Gull – 2CHP – and it looks like it’s from the North Thames Gull Group, amazing what you can find on the net these days with a bit of searching! Can you please pass along the link to Sally - http://www.cr-birding.org/node/1695 – if she wants to send them a sighting report?  It contains the email link for sightings.

Sally Douglas - Wilstone 10.30 - 13.00. An enjoyable walk round Wilstone with Aylesbury RSPB Group. A nice surprise were a pair of Chiffchaff in the bushes in front of the hide. The spit was covered with Lapwings and Gulls and I spotted a Black-headed Gull with a yellow ring 2CHP on the left leg, plus the silver BTO ring on the right. See photo's. Amazingly the lettering was exactly facing us and its legs were just visible between a stone and another gull!
Black Headed Gull by Sally Douglas

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