SATURDAY 10 MAY
Rain at first but then warm and sunny, with temperatures increasing to 18.5 degrees C. Short-lived though, as by mid-afternoon, gale force SW winds had set in, cooling things down and making birding rather unpleasant
Joined Darrel Bryant, Jay Ward and Barry Reed at AMWELL WATCHPOINT early afternoon, where a cracking summer-plumaged TURNSTONE was showing very well feeding amongst emergent vegetation on one of the closer islands, exactly the same location as one last year. A Common Sandpiper was in the same area too, as well as a migrant Ringed Plover and 3 displaying Little Ringed Plovers.
Plenty of other activity too, with Mute Swan (pair), Great Crested Grebe (2 pairs), Sinensis Cormorant (67+, with many young being fed in the nests), Grey Heron (12, again young being fed in the nest), Little Egret (3), Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall (4), Shoveler (two drakes & a female), Northern Pochard (5), Tufted Duck (31), Moorhen, Coot, Red Kite, HOBBY (2 over the distant wooded island), Common Tern (12), Black-headed Gull (55+, with several pairs on the rafts), Lesser Black-backed Gull (pair), Common Redshank (2), COMMON SWIFT (85+), House Martin (5), COMMON CUCKOO (1 calling), Sedge Warbler (singing male), Cetti's Warbler (1), GARDEN WARBLER (2 singing males), Common Whitethroat (singing male), Common Chiffchaff (singing male), Blackcap, Long-tailed Tit (pair), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Barn Swallow, and Reed Bunting (2).
At least 4 nests on one raft..
and at least 9 on the other - increasing breeding numbers of Black-headed Gulls in Herts
I then drove over to OXFORD, where in gale force winds, the first-year GLOSSY IBIS was feeding out on PORT MEADOW, on a small pool 250 yards north of the main flood. Also HOBBY and 45 Common Swifts seen, as well as 9 Mute Swans
At FARMOOR RESERVOIRS, there was no sign of the summer-plumaged Spotted Sandpiper seen earlier; it had presumably moved back to the river again after being flushed