STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR
However, I intentionally left early and arrived at Marsworth and Startop's End Reservoir at 8:55 and instantly had a Kingfisher bolt towards me as I came in at the western corner of Marsworth Reservoir. A first look over Startop's was rather unproductive. However, after scanning the reservoir more vigilantly I counted 64+ Black-headed Gulls, 50+ House Martins, 3 individual Swallows, 1♂ eclipse Wigeon, 7 Mute Swans, 9 Great Crested Grebes and 1♂ eclipse Red Crested Pochard.
Marsworth was much quieter and in comparison only had a pair of Mute Swans, 2 Great Crested Gebes, 50 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls followed by a second (or possibly the same) group of 50+ House Martins, this time attended by 10+ Swallows.
My next stop was at Wilstone were I arrived around 9:30. Due to the recent good weather most of the long staying goodies including the Little Stints and Pec. Sand. have moved of as have most of the Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, the situation wasn't helped as a man had reportedly walk along the bund with five dogs causing great disturbance to the resting waders/ gulls/ ducks and other birds that have probably left as a result. However, after meeting up with the Watford RSPB group at the top of the car park steps we gained good views of a Buzzard in the horse fields behind the Reservoir running through the grass searching for worms. Surprisingly a Chiffchaff was still in song in the poplars east of the Reservoir. From the fields leading to Wilstone in Cemetery Corner a mixed finch flock worked its way towards the poplars and Pied Wagtails were feeding in the stubble field, followed by a flyover Buzzard. Wilstone Reservoir, as usual, was the most productive with increasing numbers of Lapwing now wintering at the reservoirs, today's flock was easily 200+. Only 2 Little Egrets were noted as were the feral pair of Whooper Swans, 2 Ringed Plovers, a juv. Black-tailed Godwit and good numbers of Teal, Wigeon (mostly in eclipse plumage), and a surprising site of 4 Hobbies over the poplars above the Drayton Hide. The view was only brief and suggested that there was at least one intruder as there was some claw contact with two birds and the local breeding residents only consist of a pair and one juvenile.
As usual very little at Tringford Reservoir but still worth a visit for a look at the resident Kingfisher which we encountered several time during our time there as well as a Green Sandpiper that was frequently chased around the reservoir by 2 Sparrowhawks. 1 Little Egret was also noted as were 2 flyover Yellow Wagtails, 2 Gadwall, Shoveler and an adult Hobby. I have also promised myself to take at least five blog worthy images on all my future RSPB trips, hopefully this will brighten up my blog and prevent me from ignoring my camera to much, anyway here are a few last minute results all taken at Tringford Reservoir.
Great Crested Grebe
rather obliging Great Crested Grebe
Kingfisher with wings outstretched in flight
same Kingfisher with folded wings (highlights wingspan difference whilst in flight)
juv. Lesser Black-backed Gull (still not entirely sure could be a juv. Herring Gull, any opinions?)
ad.♂ Mallard (scruffy) but still a nice combination of colours (now I'm speaking like an artist)
Rainbow Trout (often jumping half a foot out of the water to catch insects)
flock of House Martins over the Reservoir
only a quick flyover ad. Hobby