MONDAY 28 APRIL
The warmest day of the year so far with afternoon temperatures in the sun reaching 21 degrees C. Dry throughout with a switch from east to SW winds....
First off, a couple of ROOKERY COUNTS for Roger - 36 active nests at COTTON END (TL 08 44) and 16 in BROGBOROUGH VILLAGE
I then spent much of the morning at MARSTON VALE COUNTRY PARK where the first-summer male MARSH HARRIER was busy gathering sticks and other vegetation, presumably in the hope of building a nest and attracting a mate. Also, lots and lots of other summer migrants on site, including COMMON CUCKOO, 15+ Western Reed Warblers, 8+ Sedge Warblers, 3 different Cetti's Warblers, 2 singing male Garden Warblers, 3 rattling Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Common Whitethroats, at least 9 Willow Warblers and 3 Common Chiffchaffs, as well as 8 House Martins.
More regular fare included Oystercatcher, Little Grebe, Goldfinch (4), Common Magpie, Barn Swallow, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow (4 separate nests occupied), Moorhen, Coot (1 pair with fledged young), Reed Bunting (4), Common Starling (8), Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Mistle Thrush, Northern Pochard (7) and Tufted Duck, while Orange Tip butterflies were numerous.
I then visited the WILLINGTON CYCLE TRACK COMPLEX where highlights included two reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS and a 'freshly arrived' COMMON NIGHTINGALE (in the usual area of Blackthorn, 300 yds south of the bridge) as well as COMMON CUCKOO, 3+ Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 3 Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Jay, Reed Bunting, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Common Kestrel and Common Buzzard. The small lake held single pairs of both Great Crested and Little Grebe while the 'Great Reed Warbler Pit' held at least 8 Western Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers and several House Martins.
Grasshopper Warblers: 2 reeling by the lake
At BLUNHAM LAKE at 1600 hours, 8 Common Tern and 2 ARCTIC TERN flew back and forth over the eastern side of the lake, with 24 Mute Swans, 2 Greylag Geese, a female Mallard with chicks, 12 Tufted Duck and 5 Black-headed Gull noted.
Over in WEST BUCKS, the first-winter CATTLE EGRET was still present in the STEEPLE CLAYDON area, a little buff coming through in the crown, with nearby a cracking breeding-plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE on CALVERT SAILING LAKE, present until dusk with Tufted Duck on the north shore. A lot of Great Crested Grebes too (14), as well as 6 Mute Swan, 2 Gadwall, 6 Tufted Duck, 24 Coot, 8 Western Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff.
Across the road at CALVERT BBOWT LAKE, a further 6 Great Crested Grebes, a drake Gadwall, 4 Common Tern, Song Thrush and Willow Warbler, with seemingly the hide being used as a rubbish bin!!