MONDAY 14 APRIL
A cold NNW wind blowing throughout the morning but with clear skies and bright sunshine
Meeting up with Francis Buckle and Richard Woodhead mid-morning, we trailed IVINGHOE HILLS first thing but there was little in the way of new birds arriving. Highlights included 7 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on Gallows Hill, one male of which was a GREENLANDER, 2 different rattling male LESSER WHITETHROATS (1 by the S bend and the other on Steps Hill) and 6 WILLOW WARBLERS (2 in Top Scrub, 1 on Steps Hill, 1 by the S bend, 1 near the car park and 1 near the Beacon).
Some beautiful NORTHERN WHEATEARS on the slope
Singing male Willow Warblers
and a Speckled Wood butterfly
Otherwise, 5 male Blackcap, 3 Common Chiffchaff, 4 Red Kite, several Skylark, a single Barn Swallow, 2 Common Kestrel, 4 Linnet, Yellowhammer, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Wren, as well as an array of butterflies including 30 Peacock, 25 Small Tortoiseshell, an Orange-Tip and a Speckled Wood. A total of 34 PASQUE FLOWERS was in flower on the slope.
At MARSWORTH RESERVOIR, both single singing SEDGE and WESTERN REED WARBLERS were in the reedbed, as well as the regular CETTI'S WARBLER, with 3 male Blackcap in the wood, a male Reed Bunting, a male Song Thrush, Greenfinch and a pair of Common Buzzards overhead. A pair of Common Terns was commuting back and forth from Startop's, but only 1 pair of Great Crested Grebe seem to be present. Nothing of any note was in the horse paddocks.
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR yielded very little - just drake Red-crested Pochard, 4 Mute Swans, 16 Coot, 31 Tufted Duck and 4 Great Crested Grebe.