THURSDAY 4 MARCH
Although temperatures in the south climbed to 7.5 degrees C, a cold easterly wind made it feel very bitter. It remained bright throughout, with long spells of sunshine and clear blue skies.
Recent days have heralded the arrival of spring with many waders returning to breeding localities, including Curlew, Common Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover, as well as some early returning migrants such as Little Ringed Plover, Northern Wheatear, Sand Martin and White Wagtail. There has been a wave of coastal GARGANEYS but it still came as a surprise when Alan Reynolds telephoned to say that Bill Last had discovered a pair at Amwell - a very early date. Frustratingly, I was in Dorset, and a mere 198 miles away........
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD (HERTS)
The adult female PEREGRINE was roosting in its usual spot and showing very well (see Dan Forder's superb array of new images above).
A41 (HERTS) - dead Badger on westbound A41 near Dudswell.
MARSWORTH RESERVOIR (HERTS)
No sign of the Red-crested Pochard pair but 11 Great Crested Grebes, 2 adult Mute Swans, 105 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck, 5 Northern Pochard and 3 Coot; some 62 CORN BUNTINGS roosted.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR (HERTS)
Four Great Crested Grebe, 76 Coot, 22 Tufted Duck and 30 Northern Pochard.
WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS)
(1745-1825 hours; with Steve Rodwell)
The number of roosting gulls has decreased dramatically with just 1,200 Black-headed Gulls estimated this evening, along with 87 Common Gulls and 6 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls; Steve located the 2nd-winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, this bird being the same as that present on 27-28 February and photographed by David Bilcock above. It has some blackish feathering coming through on the head, with a blood-red bill and black band and black primary patterning.
Two LITTLE EGRETS flew in to roost on the Drayton Bank, whilst wildfowl included 8 COMMON GOLDENEYE (3 adult drakes), diminishing numbers of Eurasian Wigeon (just 214) and 18 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Gadwall, 26 Shoveler, 96 Tufted Duck and 38 Pochard.