Monday, 8 August 2011

Tring and Ivinghoe (1st August)


A relatively early start at Wilstone was definitely, and as usual, worth the effort as several long staying migrants have dropped whom I was hoping to encounter.  I counted in total 4 Common Sandpipers, feeding along the south-eastern bank, Lapwings were also present in 100's mainly on the newly ploughed fields behind the reservoir.  Dozens of Common Terns were also feeding over the reservoir together with 15+ roosting/feeding Little Egrets 3 Green Sandpipers were the highlight of the day mainly on the south-eastern band of mud on the reservoir.  A surprising number of 20+ Mistle Thrushes were in a single dead tree on the north-western side of the reservoir and 5 Greenshanks were actively feeding infront of the hide.  Viewing from the hide also produced 1 Red Kite, 2eclipse Wigeon and 2 Chinese Water Deer.  Commoner birds present included Teal, Gadwall and 2 Sparrowhawks (1 adult♂ and 1 juv.) in the woods behind the hide, the juvenile being mobbed by a Woodpigeon.  On the way round from the hide to the jetty I had 2 separate sightings of an adult and juvenile Water Rail on the muddy south-eastern bank, occasionally running for cover when a Lapwing would arrive but generally fed in the open.


Later in the day I bypassed Startop's End Reservoir were 2 Red-crested Pochard, and 2 feral Whooper Swans were the only birds of note.


The next stop was only a mile away at College Lake, the breeding season had calmed down and there were no signs of the summering Redshanks.  The main birds of note here included a Little Ringed Plover, 1 Red Kite, and c. 60 gulls (mainly black-headed).  A surprise came in the form of a Red Underwing moth that flew into the hide, outside the visitor centre and landed on the window, making it rather difficult for focusing using the digital compact camera.

Red Underwing

siting on the glass window of the hide overlooking the nature reserve


I then headed further towards Dunstable to the ridgeway path near Steps hill.  Only 1 Corn Bunting was seen as well as the commoner birds of prey such as 1 Buzzard, and 2 Kestrels.  The rising temperatures meant most birds remained in shaded cover or were at the local reservoirs for the lack of water as a result only 2 Stock Doves and 2 Spotted Flycatchers were the only other birds of note.  Butterflies on the other hand were more numerous and were mainly present on the downs including Peacock, Large White, Chalkhill Blue, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Small White.

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