SUNDAY 29 APRIL
Well, Sunday morning was a complete washout. Overnight and this morning, rain was torrential with a strong NE wind bringing down many trees, falling because of waterlogged foundations. Rivers and streams burst their banks too and fields were completely sodden.
It was not until Dan Forder phoned me that I decided to venture out - he had seen a male Ring Ouzel in a local Hemel Hempstead park. Despite joining him within five minutes, neither I, Lucy Flower or Dan could relocate it. Whilst looking for it, Kevin Duncan rang to say that he had just relocated the Dorney GREY PLOVER. Drat, I had got soaked for that one yesterday. Anyway, I told Kev to keep his eyes on it and made my way down to him...........
DORNEY ROWING LAKES (SOUTH BUCKS)
I got to Dorney at 1645 hours, where I joined Kevin, Dave Cleal, Adam Bassett & son and Graham Smith overlooking the reserve pools at the 750m marker. The winter-plumaged GREY PLOVER was still present and after feeding for a short while, concealed itself amongst vegetation and hid. Bonus bird however was a cracking breeding-plumaged BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, its long and bright orange-based bill, orange-brown underparts, white undertail coverts and vent, strong mid-breast barring (not blotching) and tiger-striped tertials indicating that it was a passage nominate bird - EUROPEAN BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa) - by far the much rarer of the two that occur in Bucks. These two passage waders constituting my 152nd species in the county in 2012 - the first time I have ever recorded 150 species prior to the end of April.
A couple of Common Redshanks were also present, as well as pairs of both Common Shelduck and Egyptian Geese, with 90+ COMMON SWIFTS encountered and 4 male NORTHERN WHEATEARS. The heavens opened again whilst we were there, the second afternoon running I have got drenched through at the site.
SPADE OAK GRAVEL PIT, LITTLE MARLOW (SOUTH BUCKS)
Visited Spade oak after the rain but little to speak of - a COMMON SANDPIPER, a few COMMON SWIFTS, 45 House Martins, a nesting pair of COMMON KINGFISHERS, Egyptian Geese on the tern raft, 8 Common Terns and a single singing WESTERN REED WARBLER but no Garden Warblers on the south shore.
TYTTENHANGER GP (HERTS)
At 1930 hours this evening, the corking full breeding-plumaged BAR-TAILED GODWIT was still showing well on the main spit at Tyttenhanger, being constantly harassed by the nesting Lapwings and Common Redshanks. Around the same time, a flock of 59 Bar-wits flew east through Amwell