THURSDAY 21 JANUARY
A reasonable day by recent standards with some long spells of sunshine and clear spells
The Chess Valley GREAT WHITE EGRET reappeared today in the Hertfordshire section of the river and was standing in deep water not far from the Water Vole watchpoint. Interestingly, the bird has a small metal ring on its left leg but no colour rings. It also has very dark (black) legs with just a slight amount of paleness to the tibia but is very skittish, so most likely just a winter-plumaged European bird rather than a Nearctic visitor. This is the same individual that spent three weeks in the Recording Area just before Christmas, which frequented the Chess and Misbourne Valleys from 27 November to 18 December and was also seen in Berkshire.
The three LITTLE EGRETS were still present, along with the resident pair of COMMON RAVENS (the male in full display), whilst the wintering GREEN SANDPIPER and 20 SISKINS were again just east of Chesham Fishing Pits (per Chris Pontin)
The valley also saw a severe car accident at the Stoney Lane junction (the 18th accident on these crossroads since 18 December) with two vehicles colliding, the van rolling over on to its roof. Paramedics were attending one seriously injured driver, with four road traffic cars attending.
LEWES (EAST SUSSEX)
Had to survey a chalk quarry where I was delighted to see last year's successful breeding COMMON RAVEN still present. Initially, he was perched in a spindly bush overlooking the quarry but then partook in active display for several minutes. At least 37 pairs of Western Jackdaw were on territory but no sign yet of the Peregrine pair.
SHARDELOES LAKE (BUCKS)
Still partly frozen but a dusk visit revealed the return of all 5 Mute Swans (including the three surviving first-winters), 6 Mallard, 21 Gadwall, 44 Coot, 8 Moorhen and a hefty increase of 27 Tufted Duck and 9 Northern Pochard. A Song Thrush was also seen.