A short walk and some bird watching

Yesterday I did a fairly short walk for about 2.5 to 3 hours. Starting from Ivinghoe Beacon I followed the Ridgeway over Pitstone Hill, then made my way to the charming village of Aldbury, before returning through the woods of Ashridge back to my car. I felt quite tired afterwards, so I’m still not entirely over the virus I had. 

Pied Wagtail

I spent a large part of today bird watching. I got up early, and started off by photographing birds from the summerhouse. I just missed a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which I saw from the kitchen but which had gone by the time I got outside. I saw the usual early morning pheasants, plus starling, robin, dunnock and great tit. There wasn’t much about, and I only stayed about 30 minutes because the light was very poor for photography.

Tufted Duck

About mid-morning I went to Wilstone Reservoir, near Tring, and walked round to the hide there. I saw Pied Wagtail, Goldeneye, Shoveller, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Snipe, Grey Heron and a distant Red Kite. I also saw thirteen Ruddy Ducks – I have never seen more than three of these together before. Best of all were two Black-necked Grebes, a bird I’ve only seen a few times before. They were far too distant to photograph, unfortunately.

Mute Swan

Just before 1pm I drove the short distance to College Lake. Here I saw some Pochard and my first Chiffchaff of the year – it was singing and moving about in bushes very close to the path, but I was unable to get a photo. I also saw some Violets, Ground Ivy and Primroses. Just before I left I went in a hide near the visitor centre, where I saw some Yellowhammers. I also saw a Brown Rat here.

Great Crested Grebe

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