Monday, 27 April 2009


Light southerly winds coupled with long periods of warm sunshine but clouding over from time to time.

NEWNHAM (HERTS) (1045-1115 hours)

A male DOTTEREL in transitional plumage showed extremely well in the large pea field SE of the road between Newnham and Ashwell at TL 255 385. When three Common Buzzards overflew the field, it crouched low to the ground but seemed unperturbed by the attention being shown to it by the 20 or so roadside observers. At times, it walked to within 50 yards of the road. It was quite dark on the lower underparts (belly) and very orange on the sides and flanks, with bright ginger edges to the wing coverts and tertials, an obvious buff eye-stripe and gleaming white undertail-coverts. It flew off strongly west late morning (per Ian Bennell).

The same field also yielded a male YELLOW WAGTAIL and 5 WHEATEARS (including a male GREENLAND).


A superb WHIMBREL was present at dusk (2000-2020 hours) gracing the winter water meadow field (now largely dried up apart from a small muddy scrape) (with Chris Carpenter, incidentally the guy I have repeatedly misidentified as Ed Griffiths - apologies).

A LITTLE OWL was loudly calling.


A TAWNY OWL with large prey flew to a nest hole in a tall Oak.


Well a most bizarre evening - I trekked out after dark to the Rushy Meadow and reedbed and under a starry sky and bit-moon listened intently to a pair of WATER RAILS displaying. These 'summer' calls of Water Rail are most different to the typical squealing calls we hear in winter and are very peculiar, rising and increasing in tone. The birds sparked off the biggest night twitch at the reservoirs that I can remember !

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