SUNDAY 3 MAY 2009
The wind veered Northwesterly overnight bringing cool winds and much cooler temperatures. The wind remained quite fresh throughout the day with fairly overcast skies and occasional sunny periods.
WILLEN LAKE SOUTH & NORTH BASINS (1130-1300 hours)
Most surprisingly, took an early text from Simon informing me of 3 BLACK-NECKED GREBES that wonder-man Rob Hill had discovered on Willen South. Wasting no time, drove straight up to Milton Keynes and within a short time of arriving, spied them from a distance hugging the East Bank.
After parking on the verge close to the hide, crossed the bridge from North to South Basin and followed the circuituous walk anticlockwise for 300 yards to just beyond the Silver Birch line to where all three birds were showing down to just 35 yards! All were in fabulous full breeding plumage, with the bright golden ear-coverts leading back from the bright red eye and orbital ring, deep black crest, forehead, nape, neck, breast and mantle and deep rufous-orange sides, flanks and lower underparts. The grey bills were slightly upturned.
Unfortunately, the birds were being constantly disturbed by all of the water activities going on, including water ski-ing and boating, and on two occasions, they were forced to fly short distances (revealing a thin white wing-bar). They stuck to the edge though and were still present to at least 1700 hours.
I did a full survey of both Basins, with the following results -:
Great Crested Grebe (18 adults)
Sinensis Cormorant (at least 6 pairs nesting)
Grey Heron (8+ pairs nesting on island)
LITTLE EGRET (2 adults)
Tufted Duck (14)
Common Redshank (2)
Common Terns (55+)
COMMON SWIFT (53)
House Martin (14)
Sand Martin (6)
Barn Swallow (13)
Common Blackbird (6+ pairs breeding)
Song Thrush (1 pair feeding young)
CETTI'S WARBLER (singing bird to right of hide)
Sedge Warbler (8 singing males)
Western Reed Warbler (16 singing males)
GARDEN WARBLER (2 singing males by hide)
Willow Warbler (3 singing males)
Blackcaps (several pairs nesting)
Very blustery and cold with little sign of singing birds. Consequently no Nightingales, Groppers or capped tits. Tow pairs of BULLFINCH were noted, and a singing male GARDEN WARBLER.
(At least 1 singing male COMMON NIGHTINGALE is on territory here - SN - and at least 6 reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS - further details to follow)
Two dead BADGERS on the A422 NE of Buckingham - at SP720 350 and SP 740 363 (for Mic Wells to record - can somebody kindly forward me his email address)