MONDAY 26 APRIL (WEEK 17)
Grey skies prevailed with a fresh SW wind blowing, whilst temperatures struggled to reach 14 degrees C. An abortive trip for a putative male Red-backed Shrike wasted the morning......
CHAFFINCH HOUSE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)
The loft House Sparrows now have chirping young in the nest.
BUTTSBURY BURN (ESSEX)
Mick Frosdick and I drove over to near Chelmsford where a male Red-backed Shrike had been reported early morning. It was most likely a singing male Common Whitethroat.
The abortive trip produced several singing male Common Whitethroats in the river valley, a few Blackcaps and a typically elusive reeling male GRASSHOPPER WARBLER.
WILLOWS FARM POOL, TYTTENHANGER (HERTS)
The female Ruddy Shelduck and Common Shelduck were both present, along with a Little Ringed Plover and a single Ringed Plover on the main birding pit.
LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)
Two Green-veined White butterflies visited the garden, whilst a stroll along Elizabeth Avenue revealed the presence of breeding House Sparrows at number 102, breeding Goldfinches nearby and male Greenfinch and 4 Long-tailed Tits in Chenies Avenue.
In the vicinity of Stoney Lane, a single EURASIAN SKYLARK was in full song, as well as 2 Chaffinches, Common Blackbird and a male Blackcap.
In Walk Wood, large numbers of Bluebells were in flower, whilst Long-tailed Tit (2 pairs), Song Thrush (singing male), Wren, Chaffinch, Common Blackbird (2 pairs), Blue Tit (pair), Common Magpie, Common Buzzard and Yellowhammer (pair) were all recorded. A further Skylark was in song in the field behind.
CHENIES BOTTOM (BUCKS)
Moving on to Chenies Bottom hamlet, the woodland bordering Greathouse Farm yielded Long-tailed Tit (pair), Common Blackbird, Blue Tit, European Robin (singing male) and Wren (3 males), whilst the Chess produced 4 Coots and Mill Farm House a singing male Greenfinch.
FROGMORE MEADOWS (BUCKS)
A pair of Song Thrush were feeding young in the nest in the wooded area whilst the main meadow held singing Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap and COMMON WHITETHROAT (my first locally this year). A pair of Stock Doves was also present, as well as Jay, whilst the woodland here was also carpeted in Bluebells.
At the Water Vole Watchpoint, further Common Chiffchaffs were encountered, as well as Wren, Dunnock. Blackcap and Long-tailed Tit and as we ventured further along the wooden boardwalk, Carmel espied a beautiful LITTLE OWL perched low in a riverine shrub affording the most crippling of views. It sat there for a full five minutes before flying off - awesome.
At Valley Farm, Barn Swallows were in attendance, and as we walked back towards Chenies village, 6 Common Magpies, Nuthatch, male Mistle Thrush and Blackcap were noted. A singing male Goldcrest was in the front garden Yew of The Lodge by the village green.
I then walked from the village towards Carpenter's Wood recording more Dunnocks (4 including a nesting pair), Goldfinch (2 pairs), Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, male Blackcap, a singing male Yellowhammer and a Green Woodpecker.
CARPENTER'S, HILLAS AND WHITELANDS WOOD, CHORLEYWOOD (HERTS)
Did a full inventory of the site but it was poor - 5 singing male Song Thrushes, Green Woodpecker, 6 pairs of Blue Tit, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit and a pair of Stock Dove; there was also an active Badger's sett.
RAILWAY WOOD, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)
Railway Wood yielded Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and Common Buzzard, whilst yet another singing male Yellowhammer was noted in the cereal fields. Walking back to the A404, Long-tailed and Blue Tits were nesting in the hedgerow and trees by the footpath and by the road itself, a pair of Yellowhammers were breeding in the hedge there.
As I walked home, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over the village at 8.15pm.