MONDAY 23 JULY
Summer has arrived at last. Temperatures this afternoon reached 84 degrees F with wall-towall sunshine and clear skies.
After spending four days at the Olympic village it was nice to be able to get out in the field again for more than just a couple of hours. I concentrated my efforts locally.........
THE TRING AREA (HERTS)
A lot of raptor activity including at one site, 8 Red Kites in the air together
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
Water levels at overflowing point on all four reservoirs and hence little chance of waders this autumn......
Walking between Cemetery Corner and the far end of the orchard produced 2 Song Thrushes, Common Whitethroat feeding young, a juvenile MARSH TIT, a pair of BULLFINCHES, a pair of Greenfinches and the family party of 5 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS but no sign of either the 2 Nuthatches or the recent Coal Tit. Lots of butterflies were on the wing including Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Comma and a tardy Red Admiral.
A male Reed Bunting was singing from the reedbed whilst a second pair of BULLFINCH was encountered near Rushy Meadow and 8 Goldfinch.
Not much on the open water: 46 Mute Swans, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 22 Tufted Ducks and 300 Coot (in dredging flocks of 160, 98 & 42). Just 2 Common Terns were present.
Three female House Sparrows alighted near the car park to have a drink whilst a worn male was gathering damselflies for its young. A Common Chiffchaff was singing in the NE corner.
IVINGHOE HILLS NR (BUCKS)
Lots of butterflies on the wing including 13 DARK GREEN FRITILLARIES, 70+ CHALKHILL BLUES and several Marbled Whites
MANOR FARM WORKINGS, OLD WOLVERTON (NORTH BUCKS)
This site is looking absolutely superb and is by far the best site in the county at present for waders. Between 1300 and 1400 hours, I recorded 8 species - a superb male RUFF (a so-called white satellite male) (my first of the year), a single summer-plumaged DUNLIN, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, pair of Oystercatchers, a juvenile Common Redshank, 89 Lapwings, a COMMON SANDPIPER and 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS.
Common Terns were plentiful too with, of 84 counted, 7 fledged juveniles and 8 still being fed on the islands; 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls too and nesting success by Great Crested Grebe (two young being fed) and Coot (2 small chicks being fed).
OLNEY MILL AND EMBERTON PARK (NORTH BUCKS)
A female GOOSANDER was by the main road bridge on the Ouse with four small young, whilst a Great Crested Grebe was with two small young east of the mill and an adult and juvenile Common Tern.
On the opposite side of the road, the resident pair of Mute Swans had 6 attendant cygnets
In Emberton Park, Mute Swans numbered 38, an adult Great Crested Grebe was feeding a well grown youngster, a COMMON KINGFISHER was on the river and the naturalised flock of Barnacle Geese numbered 107 by the yacht club (including good numbers of young birds).
MARSTON VALE AND THE BRICK PITS (BEDFORDSHIRE)
Dropped down into Bedfordshire where my luck seemed to change. Checked out all of the wetland reedbeds and Rookery South but no sign of the 2nd-summer female Marsh Harrier - not in Quest Pit either.
In fact, very little at the Millenium Park - 1 Little Egret, a female Tufted Duck with 6 small ducklings and a juvenile COMMON CUCKOO
Went over and checked the bridleway leading north from east of the village but no sign of either yesterday's Whinchat or Common Redstart this evening, although the latter was still present in the hedgerow this morning (per finder). I just saw 7 Common Whitethroats.