A warm day but with increasing cloud cover gathering throughout the afternoon; a light NW breeze blowing.....
I had no luck again with a local Quail but did enjoy a feats of COMMON REDSTART sightings........
STEPS HILL, IVINGHOE HILLS NATURE RESERVE (BUCKS)
On three separate attempts, I failed to hear the male Common Quail that Steve Rodwell had heard at 0630 hours calling from the harvested cornfields between Steps Hill and the Ivinghoe road. In fact, few birds were noted, apart from several Yellowhammer family parties and those of Common Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff. The two COMMON REDSTARTS were both present in Incombe Hole, skulking in deep cover between the orange-rolling hill and the bottom end of the gully.
A lot of butterflies were on the wing, including excellent numbers of CHALK HILL BLUES (over 100 being noted - see Francis Buckle's images above) as well as both Common and Small Blue, Peacock, Large White, Green-veined White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, both Small and Large Skippers, a Small Copper and several rather worn Dark Green Fritillaries.
WILSTONE RESERVOIR, TRING (HERTS)
Very little of interest, despite continuing dropping water levels - the 2 Little Ringed Plovers still (presumably local Pitstone Quarry birds), 87 Lapwings and 11 Little Egrets. The latter have bred for the first time at the reservoirs, with the two youngsters still being fed in the Willows along the Drayton Bank bund by their parents.
A lot of Red Kite were in the vicinity, their arrival coinciding with the harvesting of the local crop fields.
A dead Badger was beside the B489 north of Wilstone Reservoir at SP 901 133.
ROWSHAM (CENTRAL BUCKS) (SP 858 179)
No fewer than 4 COMMON REDSTARTS were seen in the vicinity of Ridgway, east of Rowsham village late morning - a moulting male in the main hedgerow that runs east and an adult male still in good plumage and two female/immatures in the hedgerow that leads south from the derelict building remains. A somewhat remarkable flurry of records, considering one of the adult males has been present in this area for the best part of a month. The birds were typically elusive but particularly vocal, especially the male with the other two birds.
In the vicinity of Manor Farm at the end of Bennetts Lane, large numbers of Barn Swallows were present (25 birds, including a large proportion of juveniles). A single Eurasian Sparrowhawk and 3 Willow Warblers were also seen in the area
Park courteously on Bennetts Lane in Rowsham village (SP 851 179) and then take the public footpath east from Manor Farm. Walk through the kissing gate and then follow the rough track for some 500 yards to the ruined farm building, passing through two sheepfields on route. One adult male Common Redstart was frequenting the main hedgerow to your right 30-50 yards before you reach the ruins whilst the other three birds can be 'scoped from the track by the ruins - the hedgerow that leads away to the south. They were keeping mainly to the hedge in the vicinity of the chalk mounds, about 100 yards down