THURSDAY 6 MARCH
The first of what is said to be over a week of dry weather, associated with an area of high pressure centring over the country......
Following Andrew Moon's sighting of at least 8 Hawfinches in WHIPPENDELL WOODS, WATFORD Wednesday morning, I was out with the lark and in place by early morning. I gave it over two hours (until 0830) but despite a very extensive search, a no sign....
An excellent selection of woodland species recorded though, including 4 Stock Dove (calling males), 20 Woodpigeon, yaffling Green Woodpecker, 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker, at least 8 Wren territories, Dunnock, 6 Robin, Common Blackbird, both singing male Song (3) and Mistle Thrush, 5 Nuthatch, 2 Common Treecreeper, 15 Chaffinch, Goldfinch, 2 SISKIN, 3 LESSER REDPOLL, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, 2 Coal Tit, pair of Long-tailed Tits, Red Kite, 20 Jackdaw, 6 Goldcrest and best of all, a singing male FIRECREST in firs about 250 yards from the entrance.
Over in WATFORD, no less than 7 territorial pairs of Argenteus Herring Gull was displaying and long-calling from the roof of the ASDA supermarket complex at the 5-ways roundabout.
I then went over to LEMSFORD SPRINGS NR to see the first-winter MEALY REDPOLL that Barry Trevis had first trapped in his garden on 24th February. As luck would have it, the bird was the first I set eyes on, busily feeding on the Nyger. It remained on view for about ten minutes, allowing me time to photograph it. According to Barry, it was started to gain a little weight, having been trapped no less than eight times! It was a nice-looking bird, being strikingly paler (greyer), with heavily cloaked hindneck/nape feathering and tarsi. At least 8 LESSER REDPOLL were also visiting the Nyger feeders, while a singing male BLACKCAP was my first of the year.
The Mealy Redpoll above
A couple of Lesser Redpolls
About the reserve, I saw 2 Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, 2 Moorhen, Red Kite, 2 Grey Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Common Magpie, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Song Thrush and Common Blackbird.
In AYLESBURY, 8 active Rook nests occupied near the Police Station and the PEREGRINE PAIR on the Council Building. A further 4 active Rook nests along the A41, just west of WADDESDON. A flock of 110 Common Starling and 84 Jackdaw in KINGSWOOD.
A quick look at GALLOWS BRIDGE NR yielded a single EURASIAN CURLEW, as well as an adult white morph SNOW GOOSE with the 34 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swan, Grey Heron, 60 Lapwing, Sparrowhawk and 5 Linnet.
As I drove towards STEEPLE CLAYDON, something white in the field opposite LAKE FARM was expecting to be the Cattle Egret but on checking, revealed to be an albino Egyptian Goose! - one of a pair (see pix). The same field also held a flock of at least 700 Common Starling and 70 Fieldfare.
CALVERT BBOWT LAKE held 4 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Sinensis Cormorant, 1 Little Grebe and 38 Coot, while the pre-roost attracted 780+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 6 Great Black-backed, 34 Herring and a single adult YELLOW-LEGGED. Green Woodpecker, 5 Red Kite and 3 Tufted Duck were also noted.
Across the road, watching and click-counting CALVERT SAILING LAKE from 1715-1830 hours yielded 1600 Black-headed Gulls, 143 Common, 3,783 Lesser Black-backed (both graellsii & intermedius), 2,412 Herring (Argentatus numbers well down, as well as adult argenteus), 8 YELLOW-LEGGED, 1 juvenile GLAUCOUS, 1 juvenile ICELAND and 52 Great Black-backed.