TUESDAY 6 MARCH (LGRE DIARY NOTES)
Although the day started overcast, grey and cold, it soon brightened up and temperatures eventually recovered to 10 degrees C
WITHY BEDS LOCAL NATURE RESERVE (HERTS)
Put in a good couple of hours here but no sign of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker pair.
Highlight was a party of 3 LESSER REDPOLLS including a nice pink male, whilst an excellent list for such a small reserve included Grey Heron, 2 Coot, 1 drake Common Teal (my first here), pair of Common Kestrels (observed mating), 6 Stock Doves (all paired up with one utilising the owl nestbox), 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, Great Spotted Woodpecker (2 males drumming), Green Woodpecker, 4 Song Thrushes, 23 Redwing, calling Nuthatch, Common Starling, 2 Common Magpies, Goldcrest, 8 Goldfinch, 3 Greenfinch and 4 Long-tailed Tits
Following up information kindly supplied by Alan Gardiner and Joan Thompson, I was delighted to find 4 TREE SPARROWS today feeding in the back garden of 91 Ash Grove. The birds were commuting between the bird feeders and the thick ivy-clad trees and scrub adjacent to the public footpath at TQ 061 909. Although just a few hundred yards from the Hertfordshire border, this is a fantastic record for London and the first Tree Sparrows I have seen in this vicinity for a very long time. A female BRAMBLING was also visiting the feeders, along with 2 Long-tailed Tits enjoying the energy pellets.
LYNSTER'S FARM, MAPLE LODGE (HERTS)
The 11 EGYPTIAN GEESE were still present and visible from the road
STOCKERS LAKE COMPLEX (HERTS)
There was no sign of the pair of Smew or Cetti's Warbler but the 3 adult drake GOOSANDERS were showing well on Inn's Lake at the west end. Bury Lake held 6 Great Crested Grebes and 30 Mute Swans whilst Stocker's added 8 more Great Crested Grebes, 6 more Mute Swans, a pair of Red-crested Pochard, 9 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler, 3 Common Goldeneyes and 15 Wigeon. At least 18 Grey Heron nests were now active.
BALDWIN'S WOOD AND CHENIES BOTTOM (HERTS/BEDS)
Four COMMON CROSSBILLS were still present in the well-stocked coniferous trees in Baldwin's Wood, along with Coal Tit, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Jays, 11 SISKINS and 3 calling Tawny Owls
Five Little Egrets were on the Chess, with 1 Little Grebe, 5 COMMON TEAL, male Pied Wagtail, pair of Grey Wagtail and singing male Greenfinch.
A first-year Mute Swan had collided with overhead wires and died.
Basking in the sunshine were a pair of LITTLE OWLS in a pollarded Willow
CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)
The GREAT CRESTED GREBE pair were back once more on the smaller lake with an unpaired male on the larger lake; also 4 Mute Swans (2 first-years), 14 Tufted Duck, 1 female Northern Pochard and 3 pairs of Reed Buntings.
CHESHAM WATERSIDE MILLFIELDS ALLOTMENTS (BUCKS)
No less than 4 WATER RAILS were taking advantage of the shallow water, ideal feeding conditions for them; 4 Moorhens were also in the vicinity
PENN STREET (BUCKS)
A total of 17 active nests in the Rookery at SU 926 954, with a Stock Dove nearby
PENN WOOD (BUCKS)
A TAWNY OWL was making the most of the afternoon sun whilst roosting finches included 2 LESSER REDPOLL, a female BULLFINCH, 194 Greenfinches (in the Holly Roost) and 76 BRAMBLINGS (Rhododendron Penna Roost), many of the latter now in full spring plumage and wheezing nasally and loudly.