Tuesday, 30 October 2012


This WATER PIPIT discovered by Alan Reynolds yesterday afternoon, was still present at Startop's End Reservoir today, as was Wilstone's SLAVONIAN GREBE

At Amwell, the drake GREATER SCAUP was still present, whilst 2 PINK-FOOTED GEESE of unknown origin were around for a while

Sunday, 28 October 2012

SLAV and SCAUP still

At Wilstone Reservoir, the SLAVONIAN GREBE is still present and showing well (see lots of images on my Tring blog and three below from Chaz Jackson), along with a BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, 3 Goldeneye, 12 Pintail and 7 BRAMBLINGS.

At Amwell Tumbling Bay, the immature drake GREATER SCAUP remains present

Friday, 26 October 2012

From Red-necked through Black-necked to SLAV !!

Word of caution: When photographing birds, actually take time out to look at them. I failed to do such this morning.


A very cold and pretty strong NE wind blowing with temperatures struggling to reach 44 degrees C. Very grey and overcast with some light drizzle in the wind

After several days hoping to get to the Reservoirs, finally made it this morning and was amazed at the number of birds now on Wilstone........


The black and white first-winter grebe was still showing exceptionally well just off of the car park and like I have often accused others of, I simply failed to actually look at it and concentrated on photographing it ! Had I of actually bothered to study it instead of trying to get better shots of it, I would have realised it was a SLAVONIAN GREBE and not a Black-necked as it was previously reported. Slav is a much rarer species at Tring and this record represents the first record of the New Millenium (in fact, the last one was on Startop's End Reservoir on 6 February 1997).

Walking to the old overflow in the NW corner revealed the presence of two very confiding SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPITS on the water's edge, loosely associating with 5 Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. Up to 5 BRAMBLINGS were with Chaffinches in the New Overflow Hedgerow whilst a plethora of wildfowl included no less than 12 NORTHERN PINTAIL amongst their ranks and the 2 adult WHOOPER SWANS.

The last bird of real interest was a cracking male RING OUZEL feeding on berries in the hedgerow adjacent to the jetty on the East Bank.

Although I failed to find it, the BLACK-TAILED GODWIT was still present too - close to the hide.

The remaining inventory included 49 Mute Swans (including 2 first-years), 11 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 462 Teal, 300 Wigeon, 123 Shoveler, 21 Gadwall, 276 Tufted Duck, 82 Pochard, 112 Lapwing, Sparrowhawk and 22 Redwings.

Later on in the day, Dave Bilcock had an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL in the roost

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Updates are as important as breaking news

What's happened to everybody......

I understand that RH had 6 DARK-BELLIED BRENT GEESE at Wilstone early this morning - but did they stay and did anybody else see them?

Also, the BLACK-NECKED GREBE was still present and showing exceptionally well by the jetty still - as proven by Peter Brazier's outrageously good images (see my Tring blog)

Furthermore, Mike Ilett kindly let me know that the immature drake GREATER SCAUP was still present at Amwell today

As for the ginormous Chaffinch/Brambling flock I found in the thick fog in Flaunden a few days back, Ian (and others) they were in the massive lightly tilled field immediately SE of the village. Walk south from the crossroads for about five minutes and it is the first large soiled field on your left. You could not miss them - incredible sight - but I guess with the wind increase and clear weather they have continued their migration.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of Chaffinches moving through the UK at present

Please remember that updates on scarcities are equally as important as breaking news. You can text me anytime with news (however trivial) on 07881 906629

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

SCAUP still present

Amwell's GREATER SCAUP was still present today on Tumbling Bay Lake whilst 2 SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPITS were reportedly still at Startop's End Reservoir

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

SCAUP at Amwell

An immature drake GREATER SCAUP is present for a third day in Tumbling Bay at Amwell NR whilst both LONG-EARED and SHORT-EARED OWLS are showing well at Therfield Heath, Royston

Thursday, 4 October 2012

COMMON KINGFISHER behaviour at Tewinbury

Had some really enjoyable birding at Tewinbury over the last three days. The water levels are low and the exposed mud has attracted up to three Green Sandpipers, three Little Egrets an occasional Grey Wagtail and a fairly regular Kingfisher that was hunting the steam that now meanders through the reeds and mud.

The attached sequence of five shots from Monday I thought might be of interest. Once the Kingfisher caught a fish it flew to a post and then proceeded to hit the fish against it. I took this to be an attempt to kill/stun it. In the sequence you can see the fish became impaled on the post, the bird then just looked at it. Looking round at the other strategically placed posts there were another two examples of impaled fish. Seems strange that the bird made no attempt to retrieve the fish, surely it has the dexterity to do this and I very much doubt it's squirrelling behaviour storing it's nuts away for winter.