Saturday, 1 March 2014
Another pair of early GARGANEY and some truly big counts (STOCK DOVES & JACKDAWS)
FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY
The last day of the month proved to be dry and fairly cool at just 3.5 degrees C
I started off at HEDGERLEY LANDFILL where about 280 large white-headed gulls were present, including 173 Herring, 77 Lesser Black-backed, just 9 Great Black-backed, a near-adult YELLOW-LEGGED and 3 CASPIAN, an adult and two first-winters, one of which was bearing a yellow ring inscribed 'PNEL'; also 460 Black-headed and a single adult Common. Plenty of Red Kites (37+), over 70 Common Starlings, 8 Pied Wagtails, 130 Carrion Crow, 90 Rook, 170 Jackdaw, 3 Song Thrush and a Dunnock were also noted, as well as Ring-necked Parakeet.
Lots and lots of gulls to sift through - and fairly close too
4th-year Yellow-legged Gull in line with the pole (standing behind Lesser Black-back)
3 of the 9 Great Black-backed Gulls present
Plenty of Red Kites too
On the opposite side of Beaconsfield, the CASTLEMAN'S FARM CHICKEN FIELDS held 106 Egyptian Geese, a single Greylag Goose, more Red Kites and 8 Stock Dove, while in the vicinity of the farm buildings were 2 Moorhen, 2 Collared Dove, 30 House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Blue Tit.
About half a mile east, the HICKNAHAM FARM MAIZE STRIPS yielded the largest single flock of STOCK DOVES I have ever seen - at least 530 birds - as well as 60 Jackdaw, Common Buzzard, 35 Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 18 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin and 5 Common Pheasants.
The largest flock of Stock Dove I have ever seen
At BURNHAM BEECHES NNR, the Upper Pond held 11 MANDARIN DUCKS (8 drakes), 8 Mallard and 2 Moorhens, with the woodland producing two calling TAWNY OWLS (early afternoon), 2 Coal Tit, Blue Tit, 5 Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Wren, Chaffinch and 2 Redwing.
SPADE OAK PIT AT LITTLE MARLOW was still very muddy and flooded but looking from the east end I counted 6 PINTAIL (4 drakes) and a Little Egret. Scanning the distant flock of wildfowl, I picked up a pair of GARGANEY, so I quickly drove round to Church Lane to photograph them. They were showing quite well from the bench and within 10 minutes, local birder Adam Bassett joined me. There were also 7 COMMON SHELDUCK present, as well as 2 Egyptian Geese, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Mute Swan, 158 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 44 Gadwall, 75 Shoveler, 35 Pochard, 42 Tufted Duck and 2+ Common Snipe. Meanwhile, the island held 27 active nests of Sinensis Cormorant and 15+ of Grey Heron, with Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail also being tallied. Another dead Badger was on the Marlow Bypass.
Little Egret on the flood at the east end
7 Common Shelducks new in
and this pair of Garganey - my second in Bucks in one week (both preceding the earliest previous of 9th March)
In SCHOOL LANE, OLD AMERSHAM, a male Song Thrush was in full song, while SHARDELOES LAKE held a single Great Crested Grebe - the first back for the year. The Jackdaw roost at WHEATLEY WOOD held a staggering 1,770 birds by 6.00pm
Jackdaws gathering in the pre-roost trees
before flying en masse......
....to the roost plantation