THURSDAY 2 APRIL
At 0824 hours, a COMMON RAVEN once again flew over my LITTLE CHALFONT garden; also a singing male Coal Tit
At GROVEBURY SANDPIT (BEDFORDSHIRE), connected with both SAND MARTIN (6 birds) and BARN SWALLOW (4), while 2 Mute Swans, 11 Greylag Geese, 6 Canada Geese, 15 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 40 Black-headed Gull, 2 first-year Argenteus Herring Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Common Redshank.
The BLACK-NECKED GREBE that had wintered at Dunstable Sewage Works had been relocated on the SHOULDER OF MUTTON POND in WOBURN PARK and was showing reasonably well in front of the island. It was still largely in the same transitional plumage that I had seen it in last time I espied it. My first ever record in the park though....
The lake also held 2 pairs of Mute Swan (1 female on nest), 3 EGYPTIAN GEESE, 80+ Greylag Geese, 8 Mallard, a drake Gadwall, 4 lingering Eurasian Wigeon, 3 Shoveler (2 drakes), 21 Tufted Duck and around 30 Coot. A usual selection of woodland species including Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush and Greenfinch, plus a pair of Pied Wagtail by the pond and 2 Meadow Pipits.
At LIDLINGTON, a large crowd had gathered, with just 1 male LADY AMHERST'S PHEASANT showing erratically - very, very occasionally in the ride where the G & M Growers Pheasant feeder had been placed. The usual TAWNY OWL was calling from there, with 2 singing Common Chiffchaffs, LESSER REDPOLL, Common Treecreeper, 4 Fieldfares, Jay and Long-tailed Tits all encountered.
COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT excelled once again early afternoon when a COMMON GREENSHANK in full summer plumage was discovered by Mike Campbell. The bird was roosting on a patch of island that could only be viewed from the Octagon Hide (pix below).
Still no 'ringed' Plovers on site but 8 pair of Lapwing either prospecting or nesting, 5 Common Redshank, the Oystercatcher pair and still 10 lingering Common Snipe, while 3 Mute Swan, 8 Common Teal, 2 Shoveler, Little Grebe, COMMON SHELDUCK pair, Grey Heron, 130 Woodpigeon, 7 Common Gull and 4 Linnet were all noted.
With Lucy Flower at PITSTONE HILL, ecstatic at finding nesting COMMON STONECHATS - the first in over 40 years in the region. At least 19 YELLOWHAMMER in the area too, and some cracking and very curious CORN BUNTINGS. One Meadow Pipit was in full parachuting display while two others were nearby, with a pair of Linnet back, at least 12 Skylark and an overflying Red Kite.
Very quiet at the reservoirs with no migration to speak of - just 20 Great Crested Grebe, drake Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swans and singing Common Chiffchaff on MARSWORTH (plus the singing CETTI'S WARBLER in the Bucks section of reedbed) and Little Grebe, Grey Wagtail and 4 migrant male Reed Buntings on STARTOP'S.
I spent the rest of the day at MARSTON VALE MILLENIUM PARK (BEDFORDSHIRE) with Jim Gurney, searching for Bearded Tits. We failed dismally but a nice brand of variety with a gorgeous pair of GARGANEY, 8 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 6+ WATER RAIL, a female MARSH HARRIER back on territory, 2 CETTI'S WARBLERS, 2 singing Common Chiffchaffs, Green Woodpecker and some nice male Reed Buntings.