Sunday, 21 February 2016

First STONECHAT of the spring

Due to other birding constraints, I have had little time to get to the reservoirs of late, but Roy, Dave and Ian have been 'doing' them regularly over the past month with little 'new' turning up. Dave Bilcock had a flock of 21 Pintail one afternoon but they were not seen again, while at least 5 different MEDITERRANEAN GULLS have been seen including a single first-winter last night and a 'new' adult that Dave and I saw this evening. The first-winter drake GREATER SCAUP remains present on Startop's End Reservoir and is now looking rather dapper as he attains his first spring plumage. The pair of Egyptian Geese are still around, as well as 4 wintering BITTERNS, while Nuthatch, Coal Tit, 2 Marsh Tits, Lesser Redpoll and up to 38 Siskins have all been recorded.

The first COMMON STONECHAT of the spring appeared on Friday and was still present today, flitting along the fenceline between Cemetery Corner and Wilstone (see images below).

A selection of images from recent visits follow -:





Our first of the season, following just two records of 3 birds in 2015. Three are wintering at Pitstone Hill too, while Dave had an additional migrant male in the Ivinghoe Sheep Paddocks on Saturday


Both Egyptian Geese still around






Startop's End drake GREATER SCAUP now in full finery





Common Teal numbers now in sharp decline....




17 Eurasian Wigeon on Startop's taking advantage of the new stone wall




Up to 5 Dabchicks have overwintered on Startop's



One of 3 Yellowhammers in Cemetery Corner yesterday

Sunday, 10 January 2016

BONAPARTE'S GULL continues to delight - some 400 observers now connected

I decided to spend most of the day with the BONAPARTE'S GULL today, in an attempt to get near the fabulous images Ian Williams managed to get of it yesterday in its favoured field. Luckily, Ian and I were alone for most of the time, the bird feeling relaxed and feeding literally just yards in front of us and overhead. I was more than pleased with my results.........

The bird continued to commute all day between the reservoir and fields, roosting once again with 4,900 Black-headed Gulls at nearby College Lake BBOWT.

The other big news was the SLAVONIAN GREBE that Allan Stewart stumbled on this morning, moving between the car park steps and the overflow....