THURSDAY 10 JULY
The Redstart location - the bottom of the slope as you walk down to the Burt Ives Hide
I finally got a chance to get to COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT today, where Terry Lewis had discovered a male COMMON REDSTART on Tuesday. My luck was in - the bird was still present for a third day and showing well on the shoreline scrub and vegetation south of the Burt Ives Hide (thanks Francis!). This area was buzzing with small birds, with 3 LESSER WHITETHROATS, 8 Blackcaps (mostly juveniles) and an adult WILLOW WARBLER, while in the scrub behind the benches were 2 singing male GARDEN WARBLERS. Other species noted included Red Kite, Green & Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Linnet, Greenfinch and House Sparrow, while the continuing warm weather yielded large numbers of butterflies, including Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Gatekeepers.
There was little on the marsh and lake though - just 3 Mute Swans, 217 moulting Atlantic Canada Geese, 5 Lapwing and 2 Stock Dove.
I then did a thorough check of TRING RESERVOIRS, starting with MARSWORTH RESERVOIR. A male Blackcap, male Common Chiffchaff and family of Long-tailed Tits in the 'wood', followed by a large number of Western Reed Warblers in the reedbed, busily feeding young (23+ in total). This male Reed Bunting was in song from the Willow scrub.
The causeway held 31 Greylag Geese, 56 Mallard, a drake Tufted Duck and the eclipse-plumaged Red-crested Pochard, with 4 Great Crested Grebes on the water, as well as 2 Coot, 10+ Common Tern and 5 Black-headed Gulls; a first-summer Herring Gull flew over as did 9 Common Swifts.
This female Tufted Duck now only had two surviving ducklings by her side (from an initial 11), with Sparrowhawk, Red Kite and 2 House Sparrows noted as I walked along the Grand Union Canal. A total of 19 occupied House Martin nests were recorded, with the 6 at the Lock 41 Guest House and 13 on Waterman's Cottage.
Waterman's Cottage, built in 1909, currently hosts a colony of 13 active House Martin nests
STARTOP'S END was very quiet, with just 3 Mute Swans, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Tufted Duck, 18 Coot and 10 Common Terns noted, although 3 juvenile GREY WAGTAILS were noteworthy (and 3 juvenile Common Starlings). Likewise, not much to be seen on TRINGFORD - the Mute Swan family, 2 surviving Great Crested Grebe chicks, 77 Coot and 2 Greylag Geese.
WILSTONE was even less eventful, with 7 Little Egrets being the highlight - including the nesting pair on the Drayton Bank (16 Mute Swans, 277 Coot and 8 Lapwing were the best of the rest).
In ASTON CLINTON CHURCHYARD, the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER pair were feeding 3 recently fledged juveniles.......