TUESDAY 2 MARCH
Another glorious, spring-like day, with clear blue skies, endless sunshine and temperature highs of 10.5 degrees C. More migrants were trickling into the country, including two Little Ringed Plovers and a pair of Garganey, and Northern Goshawks were in full display at many locations, including in my village.
AMERDEN SCRAPES, TAPLOW (SOUTH BUCKS)
Thanks to Kevin Duncan and Simon Nichols, I was able to quickly get over to Taplow and catch up with the DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE that KD had discovered early afternoon. Adam Bassett was just departing as I began walking west from the Marsh Lane car park (situated at SU 915 806) and had connected. The bird - an apparent adult- was feeding with 29 Greylag Geese (including a leucistic individual) and 16 Atlantic Canada Geese at very close range in the grass field just west of the public footpath and Amerden Lane at TL 907 806 - and was still present when I left it at 1635 hours.
A further 4 Greylag Geese were seen on the Jubilee River in flight, whilst Amerden Scrapes proper and neighbouring fields yielded 9 Mute Swans (an adult on the river and a family party of 8 birds in the fields), 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Tufted Duck, 4 Northern Pochard, 6 Coot, several noisy Ring-necked Parakeets and a male Reed Bunting in full song.
JUBILEE RIVER NR, DORNEY WETLANDS (BERKS/BUCKS BORDER)
Within a mile of the Taplow site, and to the east, and literally just 25 yards outside of Buckinghamshire, the south bank of the Jubilee River harboured an exceptionally confiding EURASIAN BITTERN. Parking just north of the pub on the Dorney and Eton Wick road, a walk of just 150 yards to the east brings you to an area of scant reedbed bordering the south bank, where the Bittern has been present since at least 1 January. From 1745 to at least 1807 hours, the bird was showing unbelievably well, filling my entire 'scope view and clumsily crashing its way through the reed-edge. In fact, the best way of locating this rare, is by listening for it rustling through the reeds, it is just so noisy and clumsy. It clambered up the reeds, thrust its long beak pointing towards the sky and occasionally grabbed reed stems and snapped them in half. It was a very ungainly sight and on several occasions as it climbed up, the reeds gave way and it fell back down again.
A singing CETTI'S WARBLER was also on territory in the same belt, along with 5 WATER RAILS and 3 Reed Buntings (including two more singing males). Northern Pochards numbered 18.