Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hilfield And Tring Reservoirs - 21.4.14

Garganey and Reed Bunting
Typically I managed to sleep in longer today than any other day of the long weekend bank holiday so by the time I arrived at Hilfield it was 9.30am. On the dam were 2 Common Sandpiper and a total of 7 singing Whitethroat were noted around the res. Once past the hide I had a scan over the water and the tern rafts. Unfortunately for any terns the rafts are smothered in breeding BH Gulls and a Canada Goose nest! It was while having this scan that a duck flew into my scope view heading away from me before landing on the water. There in front of me was a stunning drake Garganey! This was only the second time I'd seen this species here with the previous time consisting of 2 male and 1 female. It also turned out to be the only patch tick of my visit. Other species noted on the walk round were a female Bullfinch, 2 male Reed Bunting and a fly over Grey Wagtail.

After leaving here I popped into my mums to see how her holiday to Istanbul went and then have her grip me off with a photo of a Laughing Dove before I headed up to Tring Reservoirs.

Cuckoo and Mandarin
First stop was Startops End Reservoir where I managed to parking space. It was fairly quiet birdwise mainly due to the amount of people walking around letting their dogs into the water. 2 Redshank and about 20 Common Tern were sat on the barley bunds and a male Yellow Wagtail flew over and landed in the horse field over the road. I quickly popped into Tringford Reservoir and happily found the male Red-Crested Pochard. Next stop was Marsworth Reservoir where almost immediately I hard a Cuckoo. After a few minutes I picked it up in a tree on the far side of the water. This was species number 150 for the year. Also heard from the reedbed were 2 Cetti's Warbler and a handful of Reed and Sedge Warbler. I wandered up to the canal and quite quickly heard a singing Lesser Whitethroat. Another Yellow Wagtail then flew over. My final stop was Wilstone Reservoir where I again nabbed a parking space. On reaching the top of the steps I scanned over to the jetty and straight away connected with a drake Mandarin. I then bumped into Steve Rodwell and Mike Hirst (nice to meet you!). Another Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the hedgerow and my first Kingfisher of the year flew by. Just then Steve said he had a Marsh Harrier and sure enough a female was over the far reeds. Surprisingly it had coloured wing tags with an orange one on the right wing and an off white on the left. After some investigating it would seem it was tagged on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent last year. Birding was then interrupted by a heavy downpour so I retreated to the car. Once it had stopped I walked round to the hide and joined Steve, Ian Williams, Dave Bilcock and Mike Wallen. The tagged harrier flew over the reeds allowing a number (59) to be seen on a tag before going out of view. A few minutes later it was back but then we realised it didn't have any tags on it! It was a second bird either a female or 1st summer male. 7 Snipe were flushed by the harriers and a male Shelduck flew in but soon vanished. A Cuckoo and Sparrowhawk were noted along with an Oystercatcher on one of the rafts.

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