Arctic Terns, Startop's End Reservoir, 20 April (LGRE)
EASTER SUNDAY 20 APRIL
With a raw Northeasterly wind blowing and overcast grey skies before the rains arrived late morning, it was classic conditions for an arrival of ARCTIC TERNS, taking the short cut between the Severn Estuary and the North Sea...
It was Steve Rodwell that first located the flock of 15 ARCTIC TERNS that arrived on WILSTONE early morning - a flyover WHIMBREL the further reward of those early watchers (IW, DB & SR)
I arrived on site at around 0900 hours, all 15 ARCTIC TERNS having relocated to the smaller reservoirs and showing well. They were favouring the far NW corner of STARTOP'S END and intermingled with over 20 Common Terns present. Both Common Redshank were on the bunds, as was one of the four local Oystercatchers, whilst 7 YELLOW WAGTAILS were the highest count of the spring thus far. A male WILLOW WARBLER was singing from the bushes in the car park opposite the Angler's Retreat, while House Sparrows (10) and Greenfinch (4) were far more obvious than usual. A lot of HOUSE MARTINS had arrived overnight (66+), with good numbers of both Barn Swallow and Sand Martin overhead (65 & 105 respectively). The hedgerow on the Bucks side of the canal now held two 'rattling' male LESSER WHITETHROATS, while a male Blackcap was in song from the cluster of bushes at the causeway join; 7 Mute Swans, Grey Wagtail, 3 Linnet and a particularly confiding Grey Heron were also noted (see pix below).
Common Redshanks seem to be resident on the bunds
Atlantic Canada nesting on one of the rafts
A nice male Yellow Wagtail
The first-year ROSS'S SNOW GOOSE was again with 4 Greylag Geese in the MARSWORTH RESERVOIR fields (before flying off towards Wilstone), with 17+ Common Tern, Green Woodpecker and 2 male Reed Buntings also noted. WESTERN REED WARBLERS had now increased to at least 7, with 1 SEDGE WARBLER singing and at least 2 CETTI'S.
TRINGFORD RESERVOIR held two drake Red-crested Pochards, 13 Tufted Duck, 2 Barn Swallows and a singing male Song Thrush, while WILSTONE was equally appealing with just 3 Common Terns, 80 Barn Swallow, 4 drake Pochard and a flyover juvenile Herring Gull. The number of young Sinensis being fed in the Drayton Bank colony was a remarkable 27! A Skylark was singing from the cereal crop in the NW corner.
Steve Rodwell observed the first COMMON SWIFT on Saturday at Wilstone