TUESDAY 19 APRIL - LGRE DIARY NOTES
Back to summer again today with temperatures rising again to over 24 degrees C this afternoon. A light SE wind continued to blow, presumably responsible for the impressive array of scarce migrant birds that arrived in our area today.
Bedfordshire stole the show once again today with the lion's share of the scarcer birds, particularly the Broom area, and by the end of the day my county year list exceeded an incredible 160 species........
DEREK WHITE'S EGGS A1 PIT, BIGGLESWADE (BEDFORDSHIRE)
Steve Blain had discovered two SPOTTED REDSHANKS earlier in the day and as luck would have it, they were still present late afternoon. Despite getting delayed by over two hours on the A1 after a car and caravan overturned just north of Welwyn Garden City blocking two of the three northbound lanes, both birds were still on view when I arrived on site at 1630 hours. What I hadn't realised before I set eyes on them was that they were adults in virtually full breeding plumage - particularly smart and elegant with virtually all black head and underparts with fine white dappling on the upperparts and upperwings, dark legs and deep red bills. They were feeding fairly close to the road on the mud in the closer bays and upon kind invitation by the new site owner, I was able to obtain some outstanding views. Both birds were still present when I left at 1700 hours.
A GREEN SANDPIPER was often feeding with them, whilst other waders on the pit included two RUFF (the same two birds commuting back and forth from Peacock's Lake at Broom), 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Redshank and several Lapwings. Other birds noted included a single Barnacle Goose with the Greylags, 7 Common Terns and 2 male Pied Wagtails.
I was mightily impressed by the new owner and spent nearly half an hour chatting with him; he has great ideals for the site and plans to construct a hide overlooking the pool; he is particularly nature conservation minded.
BROOM PEACOCK'S LAKE (BEDS)
My next county year-tick came in the form of a full spring-plumaged adult COMMON GREENSHANK - feeding with a Common Redshank along the western shore. As I walked towards it, it called several times - announcing its presence with its loud 'teu-teu-teu' notes.
The three GARGANEYS were a cracking sight - two drakes and a female loosely associating with Gadwall towards the SW corner of the lake.
Several Common Terns were feeding over the lake but no Black Terns or Little Gulls and a walk back through the wood yielded my first GARDEN WARBLER of the year, along with 4 Willow Warblers and 3 male Common Whitethroats.
WILLINGTON CYCLE TRACK (BEDS)
At last ! Today when I walked down 240 yards west along the track the male COMMON NIGHTINGALE was singing. It was still to the right of the track and favouring a thicket 25 yards in. Typically elusive as they usually are, it did eventually move about revealing its location.
QUEST PIT, STEWARTBY (BEDS)
Thanks to Keith Owen, ten minutes later and I was at Quest. Keith had discovered an exceptionally early WOOD SANDPIPER in the middle marsh section of the pit and as I joined him, it had just flown out of view into a dense reedy area on the railway side of the site. He showed me a nice video of the bird obtained before it flew out of view and after scanning the entire complex and seeing GREEN SANDPIPER, a summer-plumaged DUNLIN, single pairs of Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Redshanks and 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS, I joined Lol and Bob in walking the mile or more around to the reedbed.
Andy Plumb and family appeared once we were by the railway and at 1855 hours we finally enjoyed views of the summer-plumaged WOOD SANDPIPER - my 160th species in the county this year.
IVINGHOE BEACON (BUCKS)
Much later than I had envisaged, I finally rolled up at Ivinghoe, where Richard Woodhead had located a female Pied Flycatcher in Top Scrub early morning and Chaz Jackson and Jack O'Neill had relocated mid-evening in the same area. Despite many observers searching, these three observers remained the only lucky ones to connect all day and as I pondered my next move, I walked over to the sheep field and enjoyed excellent views of the 3 RING OUZELS (a male and two female-types) feeding just outside of the fenceline as you look towards the Beacon and SE slope. The male is present for its fourth day and this location seems to be that favoured by the majority of ouzels at the reserve this spring.
At dusk, the regularly roding WOODCOCK passed by the car park at 2030 hours but although I could hear it, I could not see it. Two Tawny Owls were also calling.
What will tomorrow bring?