THURSDAY 25 APRIL
At STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR late afternoon, 3 BLACK TERNS with 27 Common Terns, whilst MARSWORTH produced a single COMMON SWIFT and 6 House Martins. No less than 9 WESTERN REED WARBLERS were singing from the reedbeds, and 3 SEDGE WARBLERS - with male Blackcaps in the wood and by the canal.
BROGBOROUGH LAKE (BEDS) at 1800 hours yielded a female-type COMMON SCOTER, a summer-plumaged adult LITTLE GULL, 4 BLACK TERNS, 8 Common Terns and the continuing breeding-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE.
FRIDAY 26 APRIL
Heavy rain overnight and cold NW winds. At MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, a pair of Oystercatchers was on the horse fields, even copulating at one point, with 23 Common Terns on the bales, Common Kingfisher, 8 singing Western Reed Warblers, Goldcrest, Wren, Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap in the Wood and a single male YELLOW WAGTAIL
On STARTOP'S, the 3 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS, 25 Tufted Ducks, 2 Grey Wagtails, 42 Sand Martins, 30 Barn Swallows and 5 House Martins; 3 Lapwings flew east
WILSTONE yielded 3 COMMON SANDPIPERS together on the bank and 2 migrant Argenteus HERRING GULLS - an adult and first-year. The two drake EURASIAN WIGEON remained, with a single drake Northern Pochard and 37 Tufted Duck. Lots of hirundines present including 73 Barn Swallows and 8 House Martins, as well as 13 COMMON SWIFTS. Unexpected highlights included a flyover TREE PIPIT at 0817, a COMMON RAVEN with a full crop west at 0828 and a single male YELLOW WAGTAIL on the bank.
Walking from DRAYTON BEAUCHAMP along the DRY CANAL to the ORCHARD added Linnet (4+), COMMON WHITETHROAT (7 singing males), COMMON CUCKOO (calling male), Yellowhammer (6), WILLOW WARBLER (singing male), Eurasian Skylark (singing male), Chaffinch (6), Red Kite, Stock Dove, Green Woodpecker, LESSER WHITETHROAT (rattling male), Robin, Long-tailed Tit and Great Tit (4).
COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT was quiet with 10 Mute Swans, a drake Wigeon, 2 Common Shelduck, drake Northern Pochard, 8 Common Redshank, 2 OYSTERCATCHERS and a Jay noted, whilst PITSTONE QUARRY added 2 Little Grebe, 6 Coot, a singing Blackcap and a further Jay; a female NORTHERN WHEATEAR was a surprise in the NORTHFIELD FARM PADDOCKS.
No Wheatears in OLD AMERSHAM (BUCKS) though, but 2 singing male YELLOWHAMMERS by School Lane.
SATURDAY 27 APRIL
A bit of local birding between East Anglian twitching with DEREK WHITE'S PIT, BIGGLESWADE (BEDS) supporting a nice sub-adult EURASIAN SPOONBILL and 60 Barn Swallows, and GYPSY LANE EAST PITS, BROOM (BEDS) adding Oystercatcher (2 pairs), Common Shelduck (pair), Gadwall (4), Common Teal (6), Shoveler (7) and Common Tern (2).
At AMWELL NR (HERTS) in the evening, I connected with the fabulous male PIED FLYCATCHER thanks to Simon Knott and Phil Ball, plus a reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER by the James Hide, numerous Blackcaps and Western Reed Warblers, 4 Common Redshanks and at least 20 pairs of raft-nesting Black-headed Gulls.