WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL
Another fabulously glorious summer's day, with temperatures reaching 21 degrees centigrade. Clear, bright and sunny throughout.
Took a call at 1500 hours from Mike Collard to say that the OSPREY that I had seen early yesterday morning was back at Chenies Bottom again. I rushed down there and five minutes later joined local nature lover Alison Etherington at the bridge. I scanned the Mill Farm Water Meadows and high over the River Chess, overflying Sarratt Bottom (Hertfordshire) was the OSPREY.
It slowly started drifting back westwards and after seven minutes had returned to the section of Chess immediately north of Chenies Place. As yesterday morning, it started hovering and for the next 20 minutes, it drifted back and forth over the water meadow. On one occasion, it plunged rapidly down to the river and submerged itself in the water, resurfacing with nothing.
I had contacted Dave Bilcock and Simon Nichols in the interim, as well as Rare Bird Alert, and at 1530 it flew and sat at the top of one of the tall trees in Chenies Place garden (interestingly, Alison had seen the bird early this morning, from 0715-0745, when at one stage it perched aloft the conifer in Dodd's Mill garden). Fortunately Dave arrived whilst the bird was still in the tree, as did Jeff Bailey (who had been watching it independently from the Chess Valley Walk from 1500 hours).
The four of us watched in awe as it suddenly took flight from its perch and made a beeline for the river. At considerable speed it hit the water and within a short space of time, resurfaced with a large fish in its talons. At this point, a Common Buzzard and male Common Kestrel took an interest and chased the Osprey. The latter spiralled slowly upward and then began thermalling, circling the meadows for some 15 minutes before drifting off eastwards towards Sarrattmill Bridge. During this time, it traversed back and forth from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire. DB kept with the bird following it with his 'scope and after a long time in the air presumably searching for a suitable place in which to devour his prize, it slowly started to drift back towards Chenies Bottom. Suddenly at 1608 hours, it spied somewhere suitable and like a bullet, swept back its wings and dived down in to Limeshill Wood (Herts) (TQ 022 993).
In all, the bird was on view for a period of an hour and eight minutes, offering us all some magnificent views. JT arrived shortly later, closely followed by IW and MCo, but I have not heard if the bird reappeared.
Another major coo was the presence of two singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS - another rare visitor in my parish. One male was on the Mill Farm Water Meadows and another by Church Covert reserve to the west.
Two BARN SWALLOWS flew west, as did a single HOUSE MARTIN, whilst 6 different COMMON BUZZARDS were sighted and 3 Grey Herons.
A beautiful male GREY WAGTAIL was by the bridge, with a pair of Long-tailed Tits nestbuilding in Dodd's Mill garden and several House Sparrows in the hedgerows in the hamlet.
ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE OSPREY
Leave the M25 at Junction 18 and follow NW through Chorleywood towards Amersham. After just over two miles, take Latimer Road (signposted Chesham) on the right. Drive carefully through Chenies village and as you traverse the sharp bends and drop down the incline, veer off right safely at the bottom. Continue down for 50 yards and park sensibly and courteously at the side of the road. The Osprey moves between the area just to the west of the bridge and over the meadows and river to the right.