Saturday, 11 December 2010

WAXWING flock in Wendover


The warmest day in over three weeks with temperatures reaching 7 degrees C. Ice on many of the gravel pits and reservoirs was beginning to melt with many wildfowl on the move between sites. There was a little bit of brightness but generally it remained grey and overcast. The winds were light.

As has been the case for several weeks now, BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS were the talking point and today they were just everywhere. My tally for the day was 252 birds - but there were many more, especially in Hertfordshire.


My first port of call was Wendover, where a highly mobile flock of 14 WAXWINGS was commuting between Lionel Avenue (just off of the main road) and the Haglis Drive cul-de-sac.


I then moved north in to Bedfordshire, where I joined a large gathering enjoying the views in the supermarket car parks in the town. A total of 86 WAXWINGS was commuting between the Rowan trees by the Homebase store and the trees opposite the Waitrose store just 400 yards away. Again, no ringed individuals could be located. At times, the flock flew to within yards of observers and photographers and were constantly calling.


I spent the last hour of daylight at Marsworth - overlooking the reedbed. A total of 88 CORN BUNTINGS eventually came in to roost (best count this winter so far) and at least 1 CETTI'S WARBLER has survived the freeze.

The wintering EURASIAN BITTERN flew from 75 yards from the causeway at 1614 hours and quickly out of view and the resident BARN OWL at 1630. At least 3 WATER RAILS were squealing (with two walking across the ice) and at dusk, a TAWNY OWL started hooting from trees at Tringford.


Chaz Jackson and Steve Rodwell watched 6 redhead GOOSANDERS circle the reservoir late afternoon (Rob Andrew intercepting them too at College Lake briefly) and saw the WATER PIPIT and 7 PINTAILS.

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