Monday, 22 March 2010

Major arrival of BARN SWALLOWS and hills get their first dusting of NORTHERN WHEATEARS


At least four NORTHERN WHEATEARS, including this bright male photographed above by Dave Bilcock, arrived at the Beacon yesterday morning
MONDAY 22 MARCH

Migrants have come flooding in over the last few days as the wind continues to blow from the south, including some rarer birds in between, namely a Purple Heron and Pallid Swift in South Wales, several Hoopoes, a female Rustic Bunting in Hampshire, a male Little Bittern in Sussex and an influx of early Alpine Swifts.

Now back in the area, I spent the day scouring the local wetland sites in search of incoming migrants, whilst diverting for an Alpine Swift in London late morning........

The main bird of the day was EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW, with a surprising number of birds so early in March......

Sadly, a BADGER I enjoyed seeing only just over a week ago was killed last night on the A404, just east of Stoney Lane in Little Chalfont at TQ 005 978. I also found another one dead on Northfield Road, NE of Tring Station, at SP 950 127.

A RED KITE was gliding across Northfield Road.

COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT RESERVE (BUCKS)

My first EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS of the year - four birds - were feeding over the main marsh with 8 SAND MARTINS at 1000 hours.

At least 8 COMMON REDSHANKS were present on the reserve, noisily displaying on the islands, with other waders represented by OYSTERCATCHER (the pair), 3 COMMON SNIPE and at least 12 Lapwings (three birds already sat on nests on the two marsh islands).

Two pairs of Mute Swan were present, along with 8 Common Teal and 10 Northern Shoveler.

MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

A male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was singing from the remaining Poplars in the windswept plantation, my first at the reservoirs this spring. A ringed GOLDCREST was in the wood, with a pair of Long-tailed Tits nest-building and three pairs of Common Blackbird indulging in the same.

Although the reservoir was disturbed by two guys working in a boat, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 1 adult Mute Swan, 3 Shoveler and 5 Northern Pochards. The pair of RED-CRESTED POCHARDS was showing exceptionally well, 20 yards out from the bank, the drake in active bobbing display. A Coot was finishing off its nest at the edge of the reedbed.

STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

A pair of adult Mute Swans, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 14 displaced Shovelers and 43 Tufted Ducks present (later Charlie Jackson had 6 BARN SWALLOWS there).

WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)

In strong SW winds at 1130 hours and at 12 degrees C, my first Herts EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOW of the year was recorded. At least 5 SAND MARTINS were being pushed around by the wind over the Drayton Bank.

Significantly, I could see none of the 25 Eurasian Wigeon present at the weekend. Other wildfowl remaining included 3 COMMON GOLDENEYES, an impressive 217 Tufted Ducks (spring influx), 15 Gadwall, 38 Shoveler, 22 Common Teal and 18 Northern Pochard. Some 56 Black-headed Gulls were resting on the reservoir.

TUNNEL WAY SCRAPES, PITSTONE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE (HERTS)

The pair of RINGED PLOVERS were displaying over the pools (present since Saturday).

IVINGHOE HILLS NR (BUCKS)

Jack O'Neill and I failed in our quest to locate any of the 4 Northern Wheatears that had been present the day before. They were not where I had seen them yesterday. Several Meadow Pipits were in full aerial display.



1 comment:

Steve Torpey said...

My father and I also heard (and saw) the chiffchaff by Wilstone on Sunday - a true summer feeling!