SATURDAY 3 MARCH (LGRE DIARY NOTES)
Well the day dawned wet and grey with light rain falling up until mid morning. It then cleared away to the east, leaving a bright, sunny day. The wind was moderate SW and temperatures hovered at around 9 degrees C. Towards evening, the wind switched to a much colder NW - heralding a major belt of rain to arrive next day
I did some more local target birding today, biggest disappointment missing an early Sand Martin in Bedfordshire.....
HEDGERLEY TIP (BUCKS)
Nothing happening, just 13 large white-headed gulls on site and no tipping.....
SPADE OAK GP, LITTLE MARLOW (BUCKS)
A single migrant Eurasian Curlew was on site (per Alan Stevens) but there was no sign of yesterday's Ringed Plover. Nesting birds included 23 pairs of Grey Heron and an identical number of Sinensis Cormorants, with 17 Wigeon, 14 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 104 Lapwings, Grey Wagtail and Common Kingfisher also noted. A male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was in song in the NW corner (but apparently a wintering bird).
GALLOWS BRIDGE BBOWT (WEST BUCKS)
A pair of EURASIAN CURLEWS showing well on marsh besides the entrance track
BRIARHILL FIELDS, STEEPLE CLAYDON (BUCKS)
An adult WHOOPER SWAN was with 5 adult Mute Swans in a cereal crop at SP 682 271, south of the Padbury Brook, presumably the same bird seen by Warren and SR in February and of course that relocated by Tim Watts. I am assuming this bird has been present here all winter as it is in exactly the same place I have seen it in at least 5 recent winters. My 120th species in the county this year though, so very pleased to connect with it.
A large flock of 200 Fieldfares were also in the vicinity of Briarfields Farm.
HILLESDEN POOLS AND AREA (BUCKS)
My first look at this site this year and it is in reasonable condition for migrants and waders. Highlight was the presence of 3 LITTLE EGRETS, with 54 Greylag Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 3 Gadwall, 8 Common Teal, 3 Eurasian Wigeon, 5 Pochard, a pair of Lapwing, 4 BULLFINCH and a singing male Reed Bunting making up the list.
In Hillesden Church End hamlet, a pair of Greenfinch, 9 House Sparrows and a singing male Goldcrest were recorded
At Fir Tree Cottage and College Farm (SP 670 294), 3 more pairs of resident House Sparrows
Besides the road in trees at the entrance to Lenborough Farm and Hillesden (SP 675 301), 37 active Rook nests.
GAWCOTT VILLAGE (BUCKS)
At least a single pair of House Sparrows resident in the village.
LITTLE HORWOOD (BUCKS)
On the A421 100 yards before the Nash turning, an active Rookery containing 18 nests opposite the layby at SP 787 322.
LINFORD NATURE RESERVE (NORTH BUCKS)
A pair of OYSTERCATCHERS showing well and displaying on the bund and a pair of COMMON TREECREEPERS in the wood; very quiet otherwise
OLNEY WATER MEADOWS (NORTH BUCKS)
A nice Common Kingfisher fishing by the weir and 23 non-naturalised BARNACLE GEESE in with the Canada Geese on the meadows. Additionally, 10 scattered Rook nests in the vicinity at about SP 896 510.
Nearby, a dead BADGER on the A 509 SE of Sherington at LITTLE END at SP 897 454
An impressive active ROOKERY at SP 925 388, besides the northbound M1, containing no less than 77 nests - the location seemingly in BEDFORDSHIRE
GROVEBURY SAND PIT (BEDFORDSHIRE)
A very brief incursion into Beds where there was no sign of Johnny Lynch's earlier Sand Martin now that the weather had cleared and brightened up. Very little in fact.
CHEDDINGTON AREA (BUCKS)
Checking some well known ROOKERY sites, I found 3 active nests in trees besides the B 488 east of Cheddington Station at SP 924 184 and a further 17 nests in the grounds of The Old Rectory nearby (SP 921 181)
THE TRING RESERVOIRS (HERTS)
I then spent the rest of the day at Tring, doing my first full inventory of the month.......
WILSTONE RESERVOIR held the first-winter DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE, 4 LITTLE EGRETS, a flock of 8 COMMON GOLDENEYES (including the adult drake, first-year drake and 6 female-types) and the continuing redhead SMEW as well as 6 Mute Swans, 98 Atlantic Canada Geese, 77 Greylag Geese, 19 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Gadwall, 18 Shoveler, just 55 Teal (huge decrease), 17 Wigeon, 38 Pochard but an increase to 175 Tufted Ducks, 368 Coots and 331 Black-headed Gulls.
Little to count on STARTOP'S END other than 5 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Wigeon, whilst on MARSWORTH Great Crested Grebe numbered 11, with 6 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, Green Woodpecker, the male Eurasian Sparrowhawk at dusk, 2 Reed Buntings and 8 Chaffinch to roost.
A GREEN SANDPIPER flew over calling and at 1755 hours, the resident BARN OWL emerged from the nestbox and hunted over the rough meadow north of the sewage farm into darkness.