MONDAY 1 DECEMBER
A cold, grey day with overcast skies and a freshening NW wind...
An afternoon's birding resulted in 49 species being recorded, including my first BITTERN of the winter..
BULLFINCH numbers in my CHAFFINCH HOUSE GARDEN have now increased to 5 - birds repeatedly visiting the Sunflower Hearts feeders
There was no sign of Don Stone's Golden Plover flock at LOWER WEEDONHILL FARM near Hyde Heath just 29 Common Starlings, 4 Jays, 3 Carrion Crows, Green Woodpecker (pictured), Common Blackbird, Red Kite, Goldfinch and 2 male Common Pheasants. Neighbouring PIPER'S WOOD added 8 Common Magpies.
At SHARDELOES LAKE, a reasonable checklist: 5 Mute Swans (both adults, the female with 2 cygnets and another first-year), just 2 Gadwall (pair), 3 Tufted Duck, 58 Coot, 14 Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, 148 Black-headed Gulls, 8 Common Gulls, a near-adult Argentatus Herring Gull (observed hunting down a Crayfish and devouring it), 2 COMMON KINGFISHER, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, 16 Long-tailed Tits, 9 Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Greenfinch, 11 Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzard, 9 Goldfinch, 2 Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, 3 Mistle Thrush, 19 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, Song Thrush and several Stock Doves.
On the Misbourne pond as you enter LITTLE MISSENDEN HAMLET, the Australian Black Swan remains resident, with 8 Coot and 6 Moorhen on MULBERRY WOOD POND and 10 Moorhen, Tufted Duck, a pair of Gadwall and 2 Little Grebe on DEEP MILL LANE POND. In GREAT MISSENDEN, BANK'S POND held Little Grebe, 6 Coot and 4 Moorhen (with 6 Redwing over) but most concerning was the apparent drying up of the Misbourne at Warren Water.
I finished up at MARSWORTH RESERVOIR with Ian Williams, the wait until dusk being entertained by at least 1,400 Common Starlings coming in to roost. Not so good were the CORN BUNTING numbers (just 45), whilst Reed Bunting was represented by just one bird. The BITTERN (first seen by Steve Rodwell on Friday) appeared from the reedbed bang on cue at 1600 hours, with 3 WATER RAIL squealing, Grey Heron, 5 Redwing, 48 Shoveler and 4 Great Crested Grebe noted.