WEDNESDAY 30 MARCH
It rained overnight for the first time in over two weeks, with the cloudy conditions prevailing for much of the day. A westerly wind picked up strength during the afternoon, pegging back temperatures to around 10 degrees C.
Although there was not as many migrants grounded as I was expecting, the local area was blessed with a small passage of LITTLE GULLS and the first real thrust of hirundines - the Ivinghoe RING OUZEL continued to show well......
An adult Common Gull was feeding on St Clement Danes School Playing Fields at Chorleywood early morning
STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS/BUCKS)
Roy Hargreaves and Mike Campbell had seen 6 LITTLE GULLS at Wilstone Reservoir late afternoon but as a boat went out on to the water, all 6 flew off east after just half an hour of feeding. Local biking birder Paul had seen the first of this species for the year over Wilstone yesterday afternoon but that bird too flew off after only a brief stay - at 1600 hours.
Anyway, Mike Campbell managed to intercept one of today's winter-plumaged adults over Startop's, allowing Francis Buckle, Jeff Bailey and myself an opportunity to connect five minutes later. The bird was showing extremely well, flighting back and forth over the reservoir, crossing frequently the controversial water-borne county border
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
(1640 hours) The rain and cloud which had produced the wave of Little Gulls had also produced a healthy arrival of hirundines over Wilstone, including a single HOUSE MARTIN (my first of the year), at least 17 EUROPEAN BARN SWALLOWS and 53 SAND MARTINS
IVINGHOE BEACON (BUCKS)
At around 1700 hours, the stunning adult male RING OUZEL present for its 5th day was performing admirably in the far corner of the sheep field immediately SSE of the beacon and trig point, feeding alongside a male Common Blackbird. It was extracting numerous earthworms from the chalky soil and represented my first of the year. It was best observed from the ridge just beyond the gate to the sheep field, 45 yards down from the S-bend.
IVINGHOE ASTON (BUCKS)
The small coppice at SP 941 193 held 22 active Rook nests, whilst just NW of here, 3 Mute Swans were feeding in a field. Most pleasing and in some way thanks to Rob Andrews was a pair of GREY PARTRIDGE at SP 935 200 just east of Slapton - another first for me this year in Bucks.
GROVEBURY SANDPITS (BEDFORDSHIRE)
I was half expecting the Tring Little Gulls to have moved here but they were nowhere to be found - just 56 Lesser Black-backed and 29 Common Gulls roosting on the pontoons. In fact, Grovebury was largely devoid of migrants and only 8 Great Crested Grebes (4 pairs), 2 Common Shelduck (pair) and 6 Tufted Duck were seen. Whilst searching for the Curlew, I stumbled on yet another male GREY PARTRIDGE being somewhat alarmed and pestered by 4 Carrion Crows.
CHEDDINGTON AND GUBBLECOTE (BUCKS)
Near Cheddington Station in the stand of trees lining the entrance to Glebe House and The Old Rectory (SP 922 183), 37 active Rook nests were counted (including the 8 nests in the trees on the Horton Road), with 12 further nests at Gubblecote (SP 905 152)
WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS)
I returned to Wilstone late evening, joining Steve Rodwell on the east bank....
Great Crested Grebes had now increased to 32 birds, the long-staying LITTLE EGRET was roosting on its usual branch, Gadwall numbered 14, Shoveler 22, with Tufted Ducks at an outstanding 282 - a typical peak at this time of year. Just 1 single Black-headed Gull was lingering, a Green Woodpecker was yaffling and a Common Chiffchaff was singing from the Poplar wood on the east bank.