MONDAY 19 JULY
The steaming heat returned with a vengeance today and by mid afternoon, temperatures had soared to 84 degrees fahrenheit. It was quite difficult birding in such conditions but I ventured out as far as the Tring area......
WIGGINTON, TRING (HERTS)
A beautiful male BULLFINCH flew across the road just south of the village and landed in the kerbside hedgerow - gorgeous...
PUTTENHAM VILLAGE (HERTS)
Following up information kindly received from Don and Sandra Otter, I was absolutely delighted to see the family party of 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (two adults and three spotty young) in St Mary's Churchyard(at SP 885 149), in the tall pine 30 yards behind Cecilia Hall. They were showing extremely well in the sunshine and were finding a lot of insect food, sallying out quite noisily from the tall conifer tree (you could hear the bill-snapping as they connected with insects).
The churchyard also held a family of Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Green Woodpecker and a Brimstone butterfly, whilst 4 Red Kites were overhead.
I was then very pleased to find a small colony of HOUSE MARTINS nesting in the village - at the Old Rectory and Rectory Stables (SP 884 147) - a total of 3 active nests; this area also held 4 pairs of House Sparrows.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR (HERTS)
A quick scan revealed the presence of 13 Mute Swans, 25 Greylag Geese and 52 Coot.
MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
Breeding success came in the form of 1 juvenile Great Crested Grebe and a family party of 6 Mute Swans (4 cygnets) whilst overall there were 8 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Herons, 50 Greylag Geese, 93 Mallard-types, the adult female Red-crested Pochard (SR had also seen this year's surviving youngster), 2 Tufted Ducks, a family group of 4 Coot, 2 Moorhen, 4 Common Terns (including a noisy youngster), 5 Western Reed Warblers and a singing male Reed Bunting.
PITSTONE QUARRY (HERTS)
Over the weekend, Dave B and Steve recorded up to 8 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 juvenile Common Redshanks. On my visit this afternoon, it was being used as a swimming pool so pickings were meagre - 3 Little Grebes, 7 Tufted Ducks, 13 Coot (5 young) and 3 Stock Doves visiting to drink