SUNDAY 14 MARCH
The warmest day of the year so far with afternoon temperatures reaching 14 degrees C. A moderate westerly wind and dry and bright. More and more migrants arriving on the South Coast, particularly Northern Wheatears, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts; several Ospreys too.
I went 'peckering' today, as well as chasing up a few more local species.
CHURCH WOOD RSPB, HEDGERLEY (SOUTH BUCKS)
A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was drumming and calling from the woodland, 150 yards west of the hut. A pair bred at this site last summer, fledging three young in June. There are two main trees it was favouring to feed, both completely 'potholed'.
At least 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also noted, along with Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 5 Common Buzzards, frequent overflying Red Kites, 4 Nuthatch, 2 singing male Common Treecreeper, 7 Redwing, 1 SISKIN and 2 Jays.
Resident birds included Dunnock (1 singing male), European Robin (5), Common Blackbird (3 males), Chaffinch (2 singing males, plus 5 feeding birds), Goldfinch, Wren (4), Coal Tit (singing male), Blue Tit (9), Great Tit (6) and Long-tailed Tit. House Sparrows were present in the village.
FULMER LAKE (SOUTH BUCKS)
The 36 Eurasian Wigeon were still present on the main lake, along with 9 Tufted Duck, 3 Northern Pochard and 8 Coot, whilst the marsh held 7 Shoveler. No Garganey as yet and Common Teal seem to have departed.
CLIVEDEN HOUSE GROUNDS (SOUTH BUCKS)
The warmer weather was certainly conducive to FIRECREST with 3 separate birds (two singing males and a female) seen very easily in the shrubs and Holly trees backing on to the Cliveden Housing complex along Green Drive at SU 913 843. I enjoyed fabulous views as the males dropped down from the canopy to investigate. My first of the year.
The area also yielded Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper (singing male) and Coal Tit (singing male).
DORNEY ROWING LAKES (SOUTH BUCKS)
The reserve pools held two pairs of COMMON SHELDUCK and 15 Eurasian Wigeon whilst the small lake on the east side of the rowing lakes held an impressive 94 Tufted Ducks.
STAINES RESERVOIRS SOUTH BASIN (MIDDLESEX)
With spring in the air, BLACK-NECKED GREBE numbers on the South Basin rose to 12 birds, the majority moulting from winter plumage. At least 30 Common Goldeneye remained.
CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)
GREAT CRESTED GREBES included a pair on each lake, whilst the larger of the two lakes held just 10 Coot, a drake Pochard and 8 Tufted Duck.
The singing male Goldcrest was still present in the ivy along the riverside walk (with a female nearby), with Grey Wagtail, a male Coal Tit, 2 Long-tailed Tits and a displaying Greenfinch also noted. Chris Pontin noted a singing male BLACKCAP earlier in the day.
Driving back along the A404 between Chorleywood and Little Chalfont, two different BADGERS were seen in two minutes (at 2329 and 2331 hours) - one near the Garden Centre at TQ 024 977 and another closer to my village at TQ 007 978.