Having missed the Redstart last night my intention was to give the Hide Meadow a thorough going over this morning just in case it had overnighted.
Anyway the morning started with the Reed Warbler in the Cemetery Corner reed bed doing its fair impression of a Cetti’s Warbler and continued mundanely enough with four Common Sandpipers. On my way round I met the “lucky” man who found the Great Reed Warbler at Willen Lake a couple of years ago. I only found this out when I described the Reed Warbler’s mimicry of Cetti’s and pointed out that fortunately Reed Warbler aren’t as loud as Cetti’s otherwise Great Reed Warbler would be much harder to find. That was when he mentioned the GRW at Willen and that he hadn’t known what it was or who to contact until that evening. He also had found it amusing after he joined the Bucks Bird Club to read the emails about him suppressing the bird etc. Anyway we parted as he went to see the Reed Warbler s in the corner and I walked round to meet David.
David and I walked down to the old overflow and saw the Garganey and one Black-tailed Godwit in that corner. When we were walking back we heard the distinctive call of a Tree Pipit and looked up to see it flying over – on the same course as the two I had seen almost exactly two years ago. We both thought this reasonable consolation for missing the Redstart and when we got back to the pipe by the car park also noted that the Black-necked Grebe had appeared by the hide.
The GRW man (never did get his name), joined us and when David left we went to the hide, found Mike Campbell there and enjoyed good views of the second Black-tailed Godwit, the Black-necked Grebe, a Green Sandpiper and brief views of a Water Rail. Mike and I then walked all around the Hide Meadow – could we find the Redstart or any Spotted Flycatchers, no we could not! However, we did have three more Tree Pipits fly over – this time in Bucks. We carried on up past Rushy Meadow and then we heard a Raven and watched first one and then a second fly west from Herts into Bucks. Soon after Mike turned back and I caught up with GRW man who was pleased to also have seen a Raven after hearing it call. We then continued along the path up to the Dry Canal. Part way up the path I looked back down the sunny side of the trees and bushes and spotted what I thought was a flycatcher. Hoping it was a Spotted Flycatcher and not something else fly catching, I was amazed to note flashes of white on the wings and tail and rapidly concluded that it was a PIED FLYCATCHER. From that point on a number of phone calls were made and messages left etc. I waited until Mike had got back to me and seen the bird and, with him promising to wait until other people turned up, I walked home to commence work (Roy Hargreaves)