EASTER MONDAY 9 APRIL (LGRE DIARY NOTES)
What a dreary Easter ! The wet theme continued today with rain virtually falling all day. The wind was in the southwest and temperatures were just slightly lower than average at 11 degrees C
This was my first full day's birding since last Tuesday so I was keen to make the most of it, visiting all three Home Counties in the process and adding a few 'year birds'.....
OLD WOLVERTON (NORTH BUCKS)
Checked out two Rookeries in Old Wolverton - that at the west end (SP 804 411) yielding 15 active nests and that at the east end (SP 820 414), a further 10 nests.
MANOR FARM GRAVEL WORKINGS, OLD WOLVERTON (NORTH BUCKS)
Thanks to Simon Nichols, eventually managed to find my way around this large complex of pits and walked from the south side to the north bank. There was no sign of yesterday's drake Garganey but the site did yield 4 Common Teal, pair of Tufted Ducks, pair of OYSTERCATCHER, 4 Common Redshanks, numerous Lapwings, at least 1 pair of displaying LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, Song Thrush, 5 Sand Martins and 2 singing male Common Chiffchaffs. The highlight however was the wagtail flock at the NE end of the complex, including two male YELLOWS (my first of the year) and two eye-catching male WHITES. I also saw a pipit here that was either a Water or Scandinavian Rock but it flew before I managed a decent view; 9 Meadow Pipits were also in the area.
WILLEN LAKE NORTH BASIN (NORTH BUCKS)
At midday, looking north from the hide, I noted 1 drake Wigeon, 2 COMMON TERNS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS, with a singing male WILLOW WARBLER in trees behind the hide and a noisy CETTI'S WARBLER in scrub to the right of the hide; at least 5 Blackcaps too and several singing Chiffchaffs
Just south of MOULSOE BUILDINGS on the A509, a dead BADGER at SP 893 413
WILLINGTON GP (BEDFORDSHIRE)
I then entered Bedfordshire in search of migrants, with my first port of call the Willington area. The recently tilled field adjacent to the footpath to Dovecote Pit held both YELLOW WAGTAIL (two beautiful males) and WHITE WAGTAIL (a single male), along with 23 FIELDFARES, numerous Linnets and 15+ Meadow Pipits. A female Mallard was accompanying a single duckling on the river and I saw just 2 Barnacle Geese in the grass field.
BROOM AREA (BEDS)
There was no sign of the 2 Ruff at Derek White's and with Aubrey and Martin Stevens, saw very little of note at Broom. At the East Pits, 4 COMMON SHELDUCK and 2 Sand Martins were of note, but Steve Heath's adult Little Gull had moved straight through
PEGSDON HILLS (BEDS)
Traversed the area back and forth in the rain but no migrants and certainly no obvious Ring Ouzel - up to 4 Red Kites and two displaying male Meadow Pipits.
DUNSTABLE SEWAGE WORKS (BEDS)
Managed my first WILLOW WARBLER of the year in Beds but otherwise just 6 Mute Swans, the pair of Whooper Swans, pair of COMMON SHELDUCKS, 14 Common Teal, 12 Gadwall and a single GREEN SANDPIPER
GROVEBURY SANDPIT (BEDS)
A single BARN SWALLOW with 27 Sand Martins but little else of note
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
After the excitement of the last few days (Fulmar, Kittiwake, etc), 1520 hours this afternoon was back to normal. COMMON TERNS had increased to 6 birds, with 15 Black-headed Gulls, 43 Shoveler, 16 Gadwall, the continuing DARK-BELLIED BRENT, 14 Sand Martins, 5 HOUSE MARTINS and 3 Barn Swallows to see.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
The drake Red-crested Pochard and pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS noted, with 10 Great Crested Grebes in residency on here and adjacent Marsworth.
BLOWS DOWNS, DUNSTABLE (BEDS)
Met Bob & Lol in the Paddocks where we obtained excellent views of a female BLACK REDSTART and pair of NORTHERN WHEATEARS as the rain stopped and the SW wind freshened.
CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)
Both Great Crested Grebes were on the larger lake whilst an arrival of hirundines included 5 BARN SWALLOWS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS