FRIDAY 25 FEBRUARY
After the warmest day of the year so far on Thursday, today followed in a very similar vein, although light drizzle moved in from mid afternoon. The winds were still very light and from a SW direction, the temperatures holding steady at 14 degrees C.
I had put aside today to search for Common Raven in Hertfordshire and was very pleased with my results. Whilst watching them though, I received a call to say that Richard Broughton had discovered a Northern Grey Shrike in North Buckinghamshire, so that was my afternoon sorted.........
AYLESBURY ROOKERIES (BUCKS)
Three active Rook nests in the tall tree in the garden of 68 Wendover Road, Wendover, with 3 more in the grounds of Aylesbury Thames Valley Police Station just 85 yards away.
Thanks to Richard Broughton and his call to BirdGuides, I was able to enjoy views of my first NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE in Buckinghamshire for a few years this afternoon. I relocated the bird at 1540 hours, where it was showing exceptionally well on the short hedgerow leading east from Manor Farm and bordering a track that led back to Church Hill Farm at SP 678 284. It was an adult bird and was hunting from the hedgerow, every now and again dropping down on the ground to feed.
Park in the new car park by Hillesden Church End at SP 686 287 and then follow the Cross Bucks Way footpath SW across the first field. The track is incredibly muddy so wellingtons are essential. After 300 yards, the track crosses a small wooden bridge over the brook and then continues through another field. At the start of the next field, there is a stile, and it was from here that I was able to savour some superb views of the bird, looking left towards the low hedgerow.
At neighbouring Hillesden Pools, I noted 3 different OYSTERCATCHERS (one a distinct pair), 6 Lapwing, 5 Northern Pochard, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swans, 4 Greylag Geese and 2 Common Teal; a Siskin flew over calling and in Church End hamlet, had two different singing male Goldcrests - one in the Old School Garden and another in the fir by the postbox. A Robin was in full song in The Old Vicarage garden.
UPPER RAY MEADOWS, GALLOWS BRIDGE FARM (BUCKS)
Very, very poor this evening in the dank conditions - just 53 Eurasian Wigeon (no drake American with them yet) and 44 Common Teal.