FRIDAY 29 JULY
Mainly grey and overcast all day with a fresh northeasterly wind blowing. Consequently, a few passage waders arrived.......
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
(0900-1230 hours; with Steve Rodwell & Sally Douglas)
Roy Hargreaves had seen a juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL on his early morning walk round but despite searching, neither Steve nor I could relocate it
Steve did find a nice adult RUFF though - this bird arriving at 1145 hours and dropping down on to the mud to the right of the Drayton Hide. This bird had a fair amount of black in the scapulars and mantle as well as extensive blotching on the sides and was the first at the reservoirs this year - and my first in the county this year. It was typically mobile, flying up each time the Sparrowhawks came in to feed the young, but did afford some great views at times before flying off to the mud on the far side.
Other waders present included 5 COMMON GREENSHANKS (an adult and 4 juveniles - SR had seen 6 yesterday), a single remaining Common Redshank, 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS (including two which flew around briefly at 1205), 1 Common Sandpiper and 152 Lapwings.
Mid-morning, an eclipse drake GARGANEY arrived on Wilstone with 2 Common Teal, this bird quickly relocating from by the new overflow to by the hide and eventually joined up with all 12 Common Teal present. Again, some superb views were afforded, and whether this is the same drake we had here on the 8 July is unknown.
The other big news story was the continual increase in numbers of LITTLE EGRET - up to 21 today (same number as SR counted at the roost last night) - another new record. One of the fledged young spent much of the morning sat down on the spit and was not seen to be fed by the adults - I hope it is alright.
Otherwise, the following were recorded -:
Great Crested Grebe (31 including this year's 3 young birds)
Mute Swan (29)
Eurasian Wigeon (1 drake)
Shoveler (7 still)
Tufted Duck (23)
Coot (553 counted, including a vast raft dredging weed in shallow water to the left of the hide)
Moorhen (57 counted - Steve had 70 last night)
WATER RAIL (3 juveniles along the SE shoreline)
Black-headed Gull (large increase - 106 birds roosting)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (4)
Common Tern (53)
Red Kites (8 or more birds were attracted in to the muck-spreading going on in the fields adjacent to Cemetery Corner)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (for at least the 6th year in succession, a pair has nested successfully in Black Poplars near to the Drayton Bank hide)
COMMON KINGFISHER (fishing in the shallows from the central bund)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Barn Swallow (8 through)
Mistle Thrush (2)
Blackcap (1 female in Rushy Meadow)
Common Chiffchaff (3)
*SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (at least 2 adults in Rushy Meadow)
Common Starling (11)
CHINESE WATER DEER (female with fawn showing well by the reed edge)
No sign of any Turtle Doves in the usual areas but 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS and a Meadow Pipit noted.
KELSHALL AND DEADMAN'S HILL AREA (HERTFORDSHIRE)
Two MARSH HARRIERS were located: a very heavily worn adult female carrying food over cornfields near Bury Barns and a single fresh juvenile over cereal crops at Pott's Hill; also 3 COMMON QUAIL calling from crops at Deadman's Hill, a covey of 12 GREY PARTRIDGES and single CORN BUNTING.
For optimum viewing, park by the green gate at TL 300 361