April 2016


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

Please note that weather permitting the car park at Wilstone reservoir will be closed Thursday 28th April for long overdue repairs. 

Notice of 2016 Annual and Special General Meeting, 
Friday 13 May 2016, at Wilstone Village Hall

Grebe number 69 is now available in the Members Only section. 

Reminder: It is a criminal offence to disturb any nesting bird. 
Please be extra vigilant around the reservoirs during the breeding season. 

Wednesday 27th April 2016. 
David Hutchinson - Two Yellow Wagtails along east bank of Startops today along with a single Common Sandpiper. Singing Sedge Warbler along canal side of Marsworth with Reed Warblers in the reedbeds. Number of Common Whitethroats along disused canal. Single LRP and Cuckoo in NE corner at College this morning. 
Cuckoo by David Hutchinson

Little Ringed Plover by David Hutchinson

Yellow Wagtail by David Hutchinson

Sally Douglas - Wilstone 12.15. 3 Hobby hawking over the far reed bed. At the top of the steps, amongst the Common Terns, were 3 or 4 darker ones but by the time I'd got the scope up they had moved on. Could have been Black Terns but possibly juvenile Common? Definitely dark grey rather than the lighter grey.

Tuesday 26th April 2016. 

James Heron - Wilstone Today.
Sand Martins by James Heron

Sleeping Grebe by James Heron

Drayton Hides Canada Goose by James Heron

Chaffinch by James Heron

Male Catkin by James Heron
 When asked about this catkin - " With a 90% reliability I think it is a partly formed (still growing) male catkin of the genus 'Alnus'. The sex and catkin is close to certain, but it is difficult to determine the species with not much to go on. The alder is quite likely and it is not quite right for hazel. Now is the time for catkins to be forming to distribute air-borne pollen. The larger one is getting to be full grown and will probably begin to release pollen in a few days or so, the smaller has just started to develop. Many of the other buds will form leaves shortly after the catkins have done their job. Catkins form before any leaves to give the pollen a better chance of being blown around, unhindered surrounding foliage."

Nesting Coots by James Heron

After the snow flurry by James Heron

Monday 25th April 2016. 
Ian Williams - Two 1st summer little gulls present from 3.10 until at least 5pm this afternoon along with about 20 common terns. At least 2 yellow wagtails present and a lesser whitethroat along the canal. A good number of house martin also present on both Marsworth and Wilstone. Attached photos from today of hirundines and the gulls with swift and brambling from last Thursday and little owl, chiffchaff (un-cropped!) and yellow wagtail from a couple of weeks ago.
Brambling by Ian Williams

Chiffchaff by Ian Williams

House Martin by Ian Williams

House Martin by Ian Williams

House Martin by Ian Williams

Little Gull by Ian Williams

Little Gull by Ian Williams

Little Owl by Ian Williams

Sand Martin by Ian Williams

Swallow by Ian Williams

Swift by Ian Williams

House Martin by Ian Williams

Yellow Wagtail by Ian Williams

Yellow Wagtail by Ian Williams

Wednesday 20th April 2016. 
James Heron - Wilstone today.

Sunday 17th April 2016. 
David Rollinson - Lots of swallows and sand martins feeding at Wilstone early this morning - great to see a small flock gathering together in a tree - they all disappeared soon after.
Hirundines by Dave Rollinson

Hirundines by Dave Rollinson

Lynne Lambert - Grasshopper Warbler singing behind Marsworth reservoir near the GU canal

Johne Taylor - Plenty of sedge warblers in now also a willow warbler singing(1 ringed),place full of chiffchaffs and good number of blackcaps. Pair of marsh tits holding territory. Oystercatchers flying in and out with one sitting on one of the rafts. New nest site located for the red kites too  

Saturday 16th April 2016. 
Roy Hargreaves - When I arrived at Wilstone, just before 6am, it was too dark for me to bother identifying the terns on the barley bales but I counted 42 in all and assume it was 38 Common and 4 Arctic. Also I counted fifteen Little Egrets in the roost. Two Egyptian Geese were on the water and I had three Yellow Wagtails fly over. I think that Johne is right in that the Little Egrets use Grey Heron nests after they are vacated – hence the later breeding dates compared to other sites. All three species of hirundines were present over all the reservoirs with Sand Martins still making up the majority of birds. The smaller reservoirs had nothing unusual in the morning but in the afternoon I popped back to Marsworth and Arctic Terns were stood on the barley bales for most of the time.
Artic Tern by Roy Hargreaves

Francis Buckle - I ventured out a little earlier when Roy Hargreaves and a couple of others and myself watched 4 smart Arctic Terns flying close to with Common Terns also scoped an Arctic on a float next to Common when the stumpy legs etc were obvious!

Charles Jackson - I ventured out late morning after the rain starting at Wilstone where there was 1 Arctic  Tern with approx 12 Common Terns. Also a flock c 20 Herring Gulls passed through.
At Startops I had great views of 3 male Yellow Wagtails feeding along the concrete sides. Left my camera at home due to weather which was frustrating. Also a Yellow Wagtail over Marsworth, where I counted 29 Common Terns. 3 Sedge Warblers were singing in the bushes by the canal path at Marsworth and there was Reed Warbler singing in the main Reed Bed. Several House Martins at Startops. This evening there was again a single Arctic Tern at Wilstone.

Friday 15th April 2016. 
Johne Taylor - A walk past Marsworth and along the canal today came up with 5 yellow wagtails 2 willow warblers plenty of chiffchaffs 3 sedge warblers 12 common terns and large numbers of hirundines.
Interestingly on Wednesday afternoon when we went out to the heronry there were no egrets and all the nests appear to be occupied, so the egrets will have to wait or build their own

Roy Hargreaves - Wednesday and Thursday I was able to do my usual circuit from home. Thursday morning I heard a Cuckoo as I was walking down but it went silent very early and I didn’t hear it again until this morning when it again went silent. Yesterday I heard and saw a Whitethroat by the bench near to the foot  bridge over the canal. Also yesterday a Common Sandpiper was by the jetty, as was a Pied Wagtail by their usual nest location, and a 2nd summer Little Gull appeared as I was part way round and then disappeared before I could take many photos of it – it kept on being hassled by Coots, or one persistent Coot, and headed off towards the smaller reservoirs. A pleasing sight was the increase in Little Egret numbers. Recently there have been up to five but on Thursday morning I counted twelve on the central bushes where they bred last year and this morning there was thirteen. It will be interesting to see how many nests we have this year. Also Common Tern numbers have shot up and I definitely heard three singing Cetti’s at Marsworth this morning.
Little Gull by Roy Hargreaves

Little Gull by Roy Hargreaves

Pied Wagtail by Roy Hargreaves

Little Egret by Roy Hargreaves

Thursday 14th April 2016. 
Johne Taylor - Emily from the Tring Ringing Group ringing Grey Heron chicks at Wilstone.

Wednesday 13th April 2016. 
Phill Luckhust - A short walk along the dry canal today it was lovely to hear and see my first Whitethroat of the year. 
Whitethroat by Phill Luckhurst

Tuesday 12th April 2016. 
Phill Luckhust - They've arrived... Well 1 Hobby dropped by briefly at Wilstone today, hopefully more will follow.
Hobby by Phill Luckhurst

Monday 11th April 2016. 
Roy Hargreaves - Yesterday was WeBS count day and was sunny, which while pleasant makes glare on the water a hazard. A Redshank flew over Tringford calling and was later on Startops before flying off towards Tring. The wildfowl presented no surprises as the numbers of Wigeon and Teal have dropped off dramatically. Siskins are still about and a few flew over calling during the morning. At Wilstone a quick check through the gulls revealed a couple of interesting abnormalities. The 1st winter Herring Gull was very obvious and the bill was heavily deformed but it was only on checking the photo that I realised that the 1st winter Black-headed Gull in front had a similar deformity.
This morning when I arrived at Wilstone I heard a Curlew and sure enough it was circling round calling and then eventually landed on the jetty and stood there for a while before flying off toward Wilstone village. While David Bilcock and I watched the Curlew we discussed the fact that the weather was perfect for Little Gulls. David rang me late morning to tell me the expected Little Gulls had turned up in reasonable numbers so I headed down to Wilstone again at lunchtime. Sure enough about 30 Little Gulls, some of which had a really strong pink flush on their body and looked lovely were mobile with a fair number of them spending their time quite high up. While at Wilstone I spotted an Arctic Tern which was a nice bonus. 
Curlew by Roy Hargreaves

Curlew by Roy Hargreaves

Little Gull by Roy Hargreaves

Odd Looking Gulls by Roy Hargreaves

Sunday 10th April 2016. 
Lynne Lambert - Two Cetti's heard singing in the Marsworth reed bed and at least 2 sedge warblers can be heard from GU canal.

Saturday 9th April 2016. 
Phill Luckhurst - A very distant shot of a Marsh Harrier this morning over the dry canal.
Marsh Harrier by Phill Luckhurst. 
Sarah Murtagh - As the road is shut near the plover hide I didn't think we could go there so I went to Wilstone this morning and caught these finches.
Chaffinch by Sarah Murtagh

Chaffinch by Sarah Murtagh

Chaffinch by Sarah Murtagh

Gold Finch by Sarah Murtagh

Friday 8th April 2016.
Johne Taylor - Female Marsh Harrier over and in Wilstone reed bed at 14.45 

Wednesday 6th April 2016.
Paul Harvey - 12:30 - WIlstone - Low overflying Osprey harassed by Herring Gull, up to 3 Swallows, many Sand Martins, pair of Blackcaps, pair of Oyster Catchers on middle floating platform, pair of Linnets, Long Tailed Tits, Little Egret.

Sunday 3rd April 2016.
Lynne Lambert - Lots of Sand Martins, no sign of any terns, but but a bright Yellow Wagtail in the horse filed behind the Grand Union Canal.

Johne Taylor - A fall of chiffchaffs this am with 13 birds (2 from 4 April 2015) plus 3 Blackcaps Two Oystercatchers early on. 

Long Tailed Tit by Michael Armson

Saturday 2nd April 2016.
Ian Williams - First thing this morning a shelduck was close in near the car park, and had a total of 5 sandwich tern fly through in a SW- W direction (3 at about 7am and 2 at 7.35). No sign of last night’s little gull and the common tern from last night had presumably relocated back to Marsworth (although back on Wilstone tonight). About 50 common gull in tonight’s pre-roost. 

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