Following a few days of SE winds and rather cold conditions, today followed in the a similar vein but with rain. In fact the rain eventually fizzled out late morning and was replaced by clear, bright conditions as the day came to a close.
I spent the day locally, connecting with yesterday's PIED AVOCET in North Bucks as well as a newly arrived GREY PLOVER and found one migrant SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT and then later saw another. Spring really is well and truly under way now..........
WILLEN LAKE (NORTH BUCKS)
(1100 hours) I was keen to get to Willen as Simon Nichols had texted to say that yesterday's PIED AVOCET was still present - a species Bucks often only gets once a year. Mike Campbell was just leaving as I arrived but was positive with a thumbs-up.
The bird was still present and feeding in the bay just beyond the spit opposite the hide. Two GREEN SANDPIPERS were also present (another Bucks Year-tick for me), along with a Common Snipe and two Common Redshanks. Up to 4 LITTLE EGRETS were in the island heronry, the latter containing 6 active nests.
Waterbirds also included 4 Little Grebe, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Common Teal, 18 Shoveler, 34 Pochard, whilst on the neighbouring South Basin, 85 Mute Swans were counted, 12 Gadwall, 8 Common Goldeneye and 102 Coot. A female RED-CRESTED POCHARD was showing well and dredging up weed in the channel where the two basins meet under the flyover.
A very vocal CETTI'S WARBLER was showing well in the reeds in front of the hide, whilst a singing male COMMON CHIFFCHAFF was my first in the county this year.
LINFORD NR (NORTH BUCKS)
The colony consisted of 18 active Grey Heron and 3 LITTLE EGRET nests, with 46 Mute Swans in fields nearby and ligering wildfowl including 10 Gadwall, 19 Teal, 8 Wigeon and 15 Shoveler; a pair of Oystercatchers was roosting on the bund.
MANOR FARM WORKINGS, OLD WOLVERTON (NORTH BUCKS)
No sign of yesterday's Dunlin flock nor Green Sandpipers but a pair of Oystercatchers, pair of Common Shelducks and 7 migrant Pied Wagtails; 28 Redwings flew NE.
MILTON KEYNES (NORTH BUCKS)
Surprise sighting was of a WOODCOCK that suddenly flushed up from near the surgery at Stantonbury Fields and flew across the road.
DORNEY ROWING LAKES (SOUTH BUCKS)
I then made the long journey south to meet up with Kevin Duncan, who had found the first GREY PLOVER of the year in Bucks earlier in the day. I was on site by 1700 hours, where fortunately, despite a huge rowing event taking place adjacent, the bird was still present on the small pool next to the Reserve Pool. It was clearly associating with a single Ringed Plover (presumably had migrated north with it from wintering grounds perhaps in North Africa), both birds keeping close together when feeding. The Grey Plover was very grey, with a highly distinct and flaring behind the eye white eye-stripe, unmarked white lores and dusky-grey breast-band and shoulders. The mantle and upperwings were lightly scalloped, with white fringing to many of the coverts and scapulars, and long grey legs and diagnostic black axillaries in flight. It fed happily on the pool until some bright spark of a dogwalker decided to ignore the nature reserve signs and walk right through the vegetation, flushing both birds and forcing them to fly east at about 1645 hours. The Grey Plover flew right over Kevin and I's heads.
Also encountered were a Common Redshank, 7 Argenteus Herring Gulls (5 adults), a GREEN SANDPIPER, 4 Wigeon, a Common Snipe, several Lapwing, Teal and Gadwall, whilst clearly migrants were 18 spanking male Pied Wagtails.
All in all an excellent early spring day