SATURDAY 30 JANUARY
Another hard frost and another very cold day.
Spent half an hour in Buckingham Road where Andrew Moon had watched a male Black Redstart feeding behind his dental surgery. There was nothing to be found in the rear of the buildings looking from 'Lucky Lane', although 15 Fieldfares flew over.
DEEP MILL POND (BUCKS)
No sign of the Great White Egret but 6 Little Grebes, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Coot and two female Tufted Ducks in situ.
STAINES MOOR (MIDDLESEX)
After a lengthy search, eventually located just 1 WATER PIPIT on the frozen flooded meadow just north of the river - my first of the year (158)
STAINES RESERVOIRS (SURREY)
I failed in my quest to locate the wintering Common Sandpiper but a GREEN SANDPIPER was showing well in the NW corner of the South Basin.
A single BLACK-NECKED GREBE was on the South Basin, along with 17 Great Crested Grebes and 26 Northern Pochard. On the North Basin adjacent, were 38 Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, 18 Common Goldeneye and 3 Common Redshank.
A covey of 7 Red-legged Partridges was feeding west of the Flitwick-Millbrook road at TL 017 365
JACKDAW HILL, LIDLINGTON (BEDFORDSHIRE) (at SP 997 380)
There was much Crossbill activity with a flock of 16 perched at one stage on top of the coniferous trees of Blackhafields Plantation. The vast majority were typical COMMON CROSSBILLS but two birds - both female types - were particularly interesting. The call was very low and gutteral, not jipping in any way, and very Parrot Crossbill in tone, and the birds were thick-headed and had no overlap in the bill. Both birds were photographed. It seems likely that they were of 'eastern' origin.
SISKIN were also much in evidence, with some good views obtained - a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew by.
ROOKERY PIT SOUTH (BEDFORDSHIRE)
Following Roy Nye's instruction, located 6 redhead SMEW on the reedbed edge at the west side of the flooded pit. There were also 27 Mute Swans present, along with good numbers of dabbling duck and an impressive 434 Common Gulls, mostly breeding-plumaged adults.
STEWARTBY LAKE (BEDFORDSHIRE)
The long-staying juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER was up by the gull watchpoint and roll-preening, whilst Great Crested Grebe numbered just 57 (massive decrease), 5 Little Grebe were noted and 2 Gadwall.
A large gull roost included 3.500 Black-headed, 300 Common, 400 Herring and just 35 Great Black-backed, and a single adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (but no Meds).
Two COMMON KINGFISHERS showed well.
BROGBOROUGH LAKE (BEDFORDSHIRE)
(with Neil Wright) (1610-1700 hours)
The adult drake SMEW was close to the east end and Windsurfing Centre, along with 22 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Little Grebe, 33 Common Goldeneye and the continuing juvenile GREAT NORTHERN DIVER (the latter showing very well from the watchpoint).
Black-headed Gulls picked up towards dusk but again failed to contain either of the two adult Mediterranean Gulls Roy Nye had discovered during the week; 173 Common Gulls and just 3 Great Black-backed Gulls roosted.