Friday, 11 March 2011

BARNACLE GEESE at Wilstone and first SAND MARTIN


Not a bad day with westerly winds accompanied by dry but cloudy conditions. Being away in North Africa since late February, this was my first chance of local birding in over two weeks. Thanks to Roy Hargreaves and his early morning check, I was able to add my first Sand Martin to the Year List......

Yet another local dead Badger had been hit by a car overnight - this time on the A 355 Amersham Road between Old Amersham and Beaconsfield at SU 955 938, just north of Red Barn Farm. This was followed by two separate dead Barn Owls on the northbound M40 in Oxfordshire.

Just north of Horton and near Burton Mill Farm, 5 Brown Hares were playing together in fields at SP 923 205 with Rookeries nearby at Cheddington Station (13 active nests in trees at SP 925 185) and at Lukes Lane, Gubblecote (9 active nests in trees at SP 905 152).


A lone SAND MARTIN was feeding low over the water surface and ranging widely over the reservoir whilst a party of 8 BARNACLE GEESE were feeding with 65 Greylag Geese in the second field west of the main car park visible from just beyond the new overflow. These were presumably the same 8 Barnacles seen at Otmoor RSPB in Oxfordshire yesterday and could well relate to birds of continental origin (of which an exceptional influx took place in southern Britain this winter). All eight birds were unringed and Dave Bilcock managed to photograph them (see above). Otherwise, two adult male Pied Wagtails were clearly migrants.

Two Little Egrets remained, along with 8 Mute Swans, just 9 Eurasian Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 27 Common Teal, 49 Shoveler, 46 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard and 5 female Common Goldeneye. A single Song Thrus was by the farm shop.

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