Tuesday, 14 April 2009



The day started dry and clear, and fairly mild. As it wore on, the wind freshened up from the Southeast and cloud moved in forming overcast skies. Temperatures steadily increased, peaking at 17 degrees C. Such conditions are excellent for passerine migration and should provide us with our first haul of Ring Ouzel and other related migrants during the next few days. Osprey and Marsh Harrier migration should also pick up.


A singing COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was in trees by Broadview Farm (SP 904 117)


Although Steve Rodwell had perched himself on the Wilstone East Bank for nearly five hours, an early afternoon visit saw me 'mop up' his findings, with the 3 LITTLE GULLS still flying back and forth over the main body of water. They included a full adult with pinkish breast and dark underwings (but with a winter head) and two first-winters. There were also 6 Common Terns.

The 5 EURASIAN WIGEON (3 drakes) were still present, along with 4+ Common Teal, 5 Shoveler, 3 Northern Pochards, 15 Gadwall and displaying 'Bluebills'.

A pair of STOCK DOVES flew into fields behind Wilstone Cemetery.


I returned to Tring mid afternoon and with Steve, Charlie and others checked the smaller reservoirs for migrants. The 3 LITTLE GULLS seen earlier on Wilstone were now commuting between Marsworth and Startop's End and were affording superb views. The adult was splendid. At one stage, they attempted to join 3 passing Black-headed Gulls but then pulled away and returned. They did however finally depart to the east at about 1630 hours.

The two 'new' OYSTERCATCHERS were still flying around and 'piping' loudly, regularly flying from College Lake to Wilstone and back again. They seemed to be searching for somewhere suitable to land and at one stage tried to land on the Wilstone tern rafts.

Four Shoveler were present on Marsworth, along with 3 pairs of Gadwall and 14 Great Crested Grebes.

The reedbed was where the new activity was being held, with 3 newly arrived WESTERN REED WARBLERS in the main section (including a vocal bird by the sluice), at least 5 singing male SEDGE WARBLERS (including one in the east reedbed by the canal) and three different CETTI'S WARBLERS (the regular birds by the canal lock and sluice and another singing close to the sewage farm). There were also three singing male REED BUNTINGS, with 14 Sand Martins and 22 Barn Swallows overhead, and a Grey Wagtail.

The paddock fields to the east of Marsworth and the Grand Union Canal yielded just two male YELLOW WAGTAILS today, and two remaining male WHITE WAGTAILS.


At 1700 hours, the drake GARGANEY appeared from the Drayton Bank and swam along the front edge for a short distance before disappearing back into the dense overhanging vegetation and out of view. Later, Neil Fletcher saw it to the right of the hide. This individual is particularly elusive and remaining out of view for long periods. The noisy male OYSTERCATCHER also did a fly-around.


Very quiet this evening with little birding activity; the pair of Gadwalls were still present.


Despite being widespread in other parts of the region, there was still no sight nor sound of Grasshopper Warblers at Wendover this evening. Much of the plantations have now substantially grown up and the location does not look that suitable any more. Only time will tell.

There were two singing male WILLOW WARBLERS, a singing Common Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, 4 Robins, 4 Carrion Crows and a female Common Pheasant briefly captured by a dog.

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