FRIDAY 20 FEBRUARY
Spring really has arrived, with temperatures reaching a balmy 15 degrees C this afternoon. Snowdrops are bursting out all over the countryside and many birds are either in full song or pairing up. It was a beautiful day, with light winds and long periods of bright sunshine.
Thanks to Dave Bilcock, I was able to add NORTHERN PINTAIL to my Tring List in 2009. The two birds (pair) that Roy Hargreaves had found early morning were still present at 0900 hours, sleeping just south of the Drayton Bank and visible from the car park steps. They were presumably migrants. (Dave Bilcock, Steve Rodwell and Ian Williams saw both birds at 1730)
Three female COMMON GOLDENEYE were still present, along with 3 Mute Swans, 573 Eurasian Wigeon (many feeding along the top bank), 92 Common Teal, 27 Gadwall and 24 Shoveler. A total of 320 Black-headed Gulls remained from overnight, and 2 Pied Wagtails were feeding along the bank.
An OYSTERCATCHER was new-in on the island, whilst wildfowl included 6 MANDARIN DUCKS (4 drakes and 2 females), 6 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS (2 adult drakes, 4 females), 123 Eurasian Wigeon, 46 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 27 Common Teal, 27 Tufted Duck and 7 Pochard.
There was also 1 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Lapwing, 8 Common Snipe and 64 Coot, whilst JT also had the MARSH TIT on the feeder.
GREAT HAMPDEN (BUCKS)
After receiving a late call from Howard Ginn, I raced down to Great Hampden where Howard had seen a 'buzzard' which shared some characteristics with Rough-legged Buzzard and had apparently been in the general area since October of last year. It was in the vicinity of the footpath at SP 852 017 NNE of Great Hampden village. Unfortunately, by the time I got there (1700 hours) the bird had flown off to roost.
Most interesting was a RED KITE roost of c20 birds in Kingsfield Wood - a new roost for me