TUESDAY 12 MARCH
Another freezing cold day, with that blasting and fierce Northeasterly wind still blowing at around Force 7 in gusts. The odd heavy snow shower too and temperatures barely climbing above freezing.
The early part of my day was spent in SURREY where over the last couple of days, a flock of 130 Hawfinches had been frequenting a Yew tree-rich valley near Box Hill in Mickleham Woods. Despite birders being on site from 0615 hours, not a SINGLE Hawfinch was encountered today - they all seem to have moved on. I just wonder whether they were a migrant flock of birds suddenly displaced by the unusual weather, perhaps moving from wintering grounds in France towards breeding grounds in Eastern Europe...........
Anyway, a Master Dip and nothing more than 2 Marsh Tits, a Common Treecreeper, Song Thrush, Robin, Nuthatch and 3 Goldfinch for my efforts
Returning back to the Home Counties, I hear Jim Gurney has the Great Grey Shrike again at STREATLEY (BEDS) and has photographed it along the track east of the Swedish Cottages. Arranged to meet Lol and Bob there and we searched in vain for it - searching the entire area with no luck. Highlights were 3 GREY PARTRIDGES and 6 Reed Buntings..
My dipping spree then continued with the female Pintail at CHIMNEY CORNER SOUTH (BEDS) - no sign of it - just 7 Wigeon, 58 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck and the usual LITTLE OWL.
I buried my duck as to speak at STOCKGROVE COUNTRY PARK (BEDS) where 9 MANDARIN DUCKS had returned and I got some nice shots of Grey Squirrel, Robin and a few other birds