October 2016


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

HMWT/C&RT have been successful in being shortlisted for a Tesco Grant to put a new visitor trail in place at Tring Reservoirs, with better waymarking, the replacement of any older signs and some interpretation on the history and conservation of the site. You can vote for this project in one of the following Tesco stores for a week from Monday 31 October:

Northchurch Tesco Express, Berkhampsted Tesco, Tring Tesco.

If you are in the area and shopping in Tesco, please vote for our project. The project (out of three) with the most votes will receive £12,000, the runners up will received £10,000 or £8,000.

26th October 2016.
Ian Williams - Tempted to say the best of the bunch was the very showy eclipse drake garganey which spent most of the morning  close in to the jetty. 9 red-crested pochard (6 male), 4 dunlin, at least 16 snipe, 4 pintail (including a drake) and 3 Egyptian geese were the main supporting cast on Wilstone.
Francis Buckle - Wilstone had the Ferruginous  duck showing well along from the steps and Startops had the male Scaup and Ring neck Duck showing fairly close in from the steps up from the main road

26th October 2016.
Dave Hutchinson - Managed to see the Ferruginous Duck at Wilstone this afternoon. It was on the rocks viewed from the car park bank. Moved on to Startops where the Scaup (well one of the reported pair) was fairly distant but the Ring-necked Duck showed well from the west bank in the Herts section. 
Ring-necked Duck by David Hutchinson

Ring-necked Duck by David Hutchinson

Scaup by David Hutchinson

23rd October 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - Today the Ring-necked Duck was on Wilstone again and off the jetty, three Red-crested Pochard were on Wilstone and two on Startops. I saw one Jack Snipe on Wilstone and also a Pintail, two Water Rail and 13 Common Snipe. The Scaup was very close in as well for a change. 
Scaup by Roy Hargreaves

21st October 2016.
Ian Williams - Attached a record shot of the 5 whoopers Roy found the morning on Wilstone. Negative news on the ring-necked duck this morning made me check Startops tonight where I found it about 50m off the west bank (not SE corner as I put out on the pager). The drake scaup was in the NW corner fairly close in. Also heard a brambling along the west bank but could not see it. Still 2 jack snipe in the reed bed at Wilstone.
Whooper Swan by Ian Williams

Roy Hargreaves - This morning I again started at the hide and counted seven Pintail from there. I checked all the close wildfowl first and when looking further out noticed five Whooper Swans. There has been a mini-influx of Whooper Swans in the south with birds turning up in Dorset, Buckinghamshire and at Rutland Water so to my mind these birds are clearly wild.
I then walked round to the overflow and took photos of the swans. Moving round to the jetty several people were looking for the Ring-necked Duck and we couldn’t find it despite a thorough search. I did suggest to the others it was probably on Startops but don’t know if they looked there. While looking for the Ring-necked Duck I also watched the Swans fly off at about 9:20 and head off south-east. From the jetty I also saw seven Pintail and these may have been different birds so there could have been fourteen in all.

19th October 2016.
Ian Williams - Thanks for the call Roy. I was getting worried when there was negative news early afternoon but I re-found it about 30m reed bed side of the jetty not long after turning up mid afternoon. It continued to show in the area for the rest of the day ranging as close as 30m from the bank to the middle of the barley bales, no more than 100m away at any time.

It certainly dives deep at times as can be seen from the mud at the top of the bill.

As you said in your voicemail it surely must be the same bird I found at the start of last October returning. Hopefully it will not leave on Bonfire Night this year!
Ring-necked Duck by Ian Williams

Ring-necked Duck by Ian Williams

Tufted Duck and Ring-necked Duck by Ian Williams

Roy Hargreaves - This morning I walked down to Wilstone Res as usual and started from the hide. Scanning round I noted three Pintail and then heard higher-pitched geese calling quietly and looked up to see a flock of Barnacle Geese. Initially I counted 21, but on checking my photos I realised it was actually 23 birds. They flew round but never actually landed or settled on the water and I last saw them flying off eastwards. I also saw two pairs of Red-crested Pochards off to the right of the hide and Common Sandpiper was still about.
I headed round to the jetty and could only see one Jack Snipe but didn’t have much time so had a quick scan of the duck with my binoculars and noticed an eclipse male Ring-necked Duck fairly close in. Although in eclipse it still had many of its distinguishing features and I quickly eliminated hybrids. I then had to head home for a conference call for work so had to put out the news on my way back. On the way back I heard a Little Owl in the Dry Canal area.
Later Ben Miller informed me that 23 Barnacle Geese had been seen over Barnes WWT and indeed I checked their website and they were over the site at 11:20. Normally I would assume that Barnacles we get at the reservoirs are from the feral Bedfordshire population but it would seem unlikely in this case and I think it is reasonable to assume the same birds were involved in both sightings and they are wild bird.
What a morning.
Barnacle Geese by Roy Hargreaves

Ring-necked Duck by Roy Hargreaves

17th October 2016.
James Heron - Pochard, Golden Plover, Sandpiper, group of Snipe and unknown insect! 

Teal by James Heron

Snipe by James Heron

Common Sandpiper by James Heron

Golden Plover by James Heron

Mike Nott - Had a walk round to the Wilstone hide this afternoon. Pretty quiet and no rarities but the Golden Plover were near the Drayton Bank (see image) and several grey wagtails (see image) were busy around the waterline on the car park bank. Three snipe from the hide under the trees on the spit. Water levels continue to drop with waterline now half way to trees on spit in front of hide. 
Grey Wagtail bu Mike Nott

Golden Plover by Mike Nott

16th October 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - This morning was very wet and in the hide at Wilstone Reservoir all of the benches were soaking wet. So it might be an idea to start closing the hide flaps again. I started the count from the hide and then moved to by the overflow. From the overflow three Pintail and three male Red-crested Pochards were visible. From the jetty I also saw one of the Jack Snipe and it was closer to Cemetery Corner – presumably because the slight change in water level made the section of reeds it was in the right distance from the water’s edge.
The smaller reservoirs had standard stuff apart from an eclipse male Scaup, which David and myself assumed was probably the bird that turned up on Startops as a 1st winter bird as it was in the same area that bird favoured.
In the end I counted 3,453 birds – of which 939 were Coots and 732 were Teal.

12th October 2016.
Phill Luckhurst - Two from Startops today.
Curlew by Phill Luckhurst

Black-tailed Godwit by Phill Luckhurst

11th October 2016.
Roy Hargreaves - Since it was foggy this morning I popped down to Wilstone Res this evening instead. From the hide I saw four Pintail and two male Red-crested Pochard among the numerous duck and thirteen Little Egrets scattered round  the fringes. From the jetty I scanned the reeds and saw at least two Water Rails. While scanning a Moorhen flushed a Jack Snipe into the open, which was a pleasant surprise. I kept on scanning and in the end counted four Jack Snipe on several occasions. They were about midway along the reed bed between the east corner and the causeway used by the ringers.

5th October 2016.

Response by Roy Hargreaves - Hi Dave,

It is actually a well-marked Scandinavian Rock Pipit.

It is too heavily streaked on the underparts, particularly on the rear flanks, and the streaks are too diffuse. Also the underparts base colour should be pure white rather than the pale yellow shown by this bird. The wing-bars aren’t white but are grey-tinged. Also the mantle is the wrong colour being grey-tinged rather than the warm brown I would expect for a Water Pipit in October. Littoralis at this time of year can show a pale supercilium.

David Hutchinson - Not much change at Wilstone since I was last there a few days ago but just one Garganey seen and no Pintail.

Pipit in front of hide had light supercillium which looked more obvious in the field so assume Water Pipit although happy to be corrected. 
Garganey by David Hutchinson

Rock Pipit by David Hutchinson

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