Another tremedous effort by top local photographer ALAN REYNOLDS
FRIDAY 01 MARCH
The cold theme to the weather, associated with this vast high pressure system that has been centred over the UK for the past two weeks, continued in earnest today with easterly winds pegging back temperatures to 5 degrees C. It did remain dry though but was very overcast.
Not much happening today so I just did some local birding......
After David Cleal had some success yesterday, both Graham Smith and I returned to STOKE COMMON (BUCKS) yet again but as usual, after a lengthy and extensive search, no sign of any Common Stonechats again. The only new birds were 3 Eurasian Skylarks close to the central track, with just 2 Wren, Green Woodpecker and 22 Carrion Crows being noted otherwise.
For a second day, the MISBOURNE FLOOD MEADOWS west of the A413 in CHALFONT COMMON (BUCKS) held large numbers of loafing gulls including 35 Argenteus Herring (mainly juveniles), 46 Common and over 100 Black-headeds.
Checking out LYNSTER'S FARM in WEST HYDE (HERTS), the adult white morph GREATER SNOW GOOSE of unknown origin was showing well, consorting with 92 Atlantic Canadas and 9 Greylag Geese. The field also held 7 Gadwall and 16 Moorhens.
Joining up briefly with JT, the STOCKERS FARM WATER MEADOW (HERTS) still held the single OYSTERCATCHER (3rd day), 1 adult Mute Swan, 4 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler, 70 Wigeon and 5 Common Gulls, along with the resident pair of LITTLE OWLS, Ring-necked Parakeets and a pair of Mistle Thrush.
Having not visited in over a month, I next stopped off at BRAMFIELD CHURCH (HERTS) where the HAWFINCHES were still showing very well, commuting between the dense Yew trees in the churchyard and the tall trees. At least three birds were on view, Alan Reynolds obtaining some further excellent images of the birds (see above).
The fields to the south of the village were very productive with two pairs of GREY PARTRIDGE, 250+ Lapwing and 334 EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER - the latter in the field at TL 292 142.
Over at AMWELL NATURE RESERVE (HERTS), Great Hardmead Lake held 4 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 8 Grey Heron (including an active nest on the island), 33 Sinensis Cormorant (including 14 active nests on the island), 6 Mute Swans, 12 Teal, 48 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 12 Pochard, 5 Common Goldeneye (3 adult drakes), 230 Coot and 200 Lapwing, as well as a pair of NORTHERN PINTAILS for their fifth day. A single CETTI'S WARBLER 'chipped' from the reedbed, whilst 2 Mistle Thrushes and a Redwing were seen by the railway crossing. To the North, all 4 SMEWS were visible on the Tumbling Bay Lake, including the dapper adult drake.
For the last 90 minutes of daylight, I visited PENN WOOD (BUCKS) but it was a waste of time - virtually birdless - and no roosting finches. Bizarre! Two male Song Thrushes were singing and a Nuthatch.