WEDNESDAY 10 APRIL
A beautiful day weatherwise, if not a little hazy, with light southerly winds and largely clear conditions. The forecast rain did not materialise.
I was expecting more from today, especially following yesterday's excitement, but some birds did get through, noticeably the odd Marsh Harrier and Osprey...
RING OUZELS remaining from yesterday's fall included 3 at BISON HILL, WHIPSNADE (BEDS) and 2 in INKOMBE HOLE, STEPS HILL (BUCKS) whilst Rook nest numbers in the Beech trees north of DAGNALL at SP 995 176 now total 33 active nests.
Over at TRING RESERVOIRS (HERTS), a little change from yesterday, with more hirundine passage...
At STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, Common Redshank numbers had increased to four birds, with one pair showing an interest in one of the rafts. Both WATER PIPITS were on the west shoreline once again, as well as the two GREY WAGTAILS, whilst migrants included 8 SAND MARTINS and 2 BARN SWALLOWS. All 5 Great Crested Grebes were on view, whilst Wigeon numbers had dwindled down to 7; a Mistle Thrush was in the paddock.
*Others I met had heard Willow Warbler (on the West Bank) and Cetti's Warbler in the Marsworth Reedbed
A long vigil in excellent conditions at WILSTONE RESERVOIR failed to reap much in the way of reward - a single flyover YELLOW WAGTAIL being the best of the bunch (and my first of the year).
A singing male Common Chiffchaff in the East Bank Poplar trees was a new arrival, as was a Willow Warbler by the old cress beds. SAND MARTINS numbered up to 28 (some passage evident), with 3 or more BARN SWALLOWS coming through.
Clear skies and light winds meant lots of raptors in the sky, including up to 12 Red Kites, 8 Common Buzzards, 3 Common Kestrels and a single Sparrowhawk, whilst late evening saw the first Osprey of the year appear - over Weston Turville Reservoir (per Stephen Richards).
Usual fare included 2 Mute Swans, 27 Greylag Geese, 70 Wigeon, 88 Shoveler, 116 Tufted Duck, just 9 Pochard, 12 Great Crested Grebe and 11 active Sinensis nests, whilst 90+ Black-headed Gulls, 25 Common Gulls and 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls took advantage of the increase in flying insect matter high above the reservoir.
A male Song Thrush was singing from the Black Poplars in the SE corner, 4 Linnets passed by and Yellowhammers finally gave themselves up for me, performing along the Dry Canal.
Steve Blake then phoned with news of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Sparrow, Firecrest and Black-tailed Godwit from his home patch of TYTTENHANGER GP, which sounded too good to refuse. I soon met up with him but failed to locate ANY of these birds - just 4 yaffling Green Woodpeckers, 3 Nuthatches and a singing Common Chiffchaff as compensation.
It was then time to do some ROOKERY SURVEYING, particularly as many were now active with the recent weather change. AT CHESSBURY ESTATE, CHESHAM (BUCKS) (SP 957 012), 39 nests were active, whilst at PEDNOR BOTTOM (BUCKS), numbers totalled 34. The CHESHAM VALE Rookery (SP 963 033) was a respectable 44 active nests, with just 6 left by the railway in HOLLOWAY LANE and 9 at the new site by BOIS MILL FARM. Lastly, 52 active nests at LATIMER PARKFIELD, including quite a few in the conifers.
In addition, CHESHAM'S BURY LAKE held the two first-summer Mute Swans, with 5 pairs of LAPWINGS in the grass field opposite.