It was pretty dense fog here in the Chilterns until mid morning but then skies cleared and a pleasant day followed. No sign of any precipitation and temperatures climbed to 7 degrees C.
On a sad note, I lost one of my local Badgers overnight, the animal killed by car along Flaunden Bottom at TQ 005 000
As soon as the fog cleared, I drove down to my local polling station in CHORLEYWOOD and lodged my vote for Tim Starkey. On the cricket ground there, no less than 228 Black-headed Gulls and 1 first-year Common Gull were feeding - the largest number I have ever seen congregated there (see images below). I also saw this beauty.......
Unprecedented numbers of Black-headed Gulls on the cricket pitch - 228 in total
I followed up the sighting of 5 WAXWINGS at Cassiobury Park but failed to find them and then drove northeast to AMWELL........
,,,,,,where I was greeted by a smug-looking Bill Last asking me for my permit. He and his partner-in-crime had seen both juvenile BEARDED TITS two hours hence but they had flown off from by the Watchpoint to the much denser and extensive area of reedbed further north. As to be expected, I failed to see them.
It did give me an opportunity though to finally see the GREATER SCAUP - a first-winter drake that had been present for three weeks or more. As Bill acknowledged, it was now growing up and starting to look like a Scaup - with neat grey/black vermiculating on the scapulars and shoulders, some darkness to the head, a bright yellow eye and black nail restricted to the tip of the bluish-grey bill. A nice bird and showing well in Tumbling Bay (from the Watchpoint, walk north for 700 yards to just beyond the lock gates and then cut in to the right on a well-trodden track and view to your right).
I also noted 26 Greylag Geese, 8 Mute Swans, just 66 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon (1 drake), just 8 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 4 WATER RAILS, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cetti's Warbler and 2 Reed Buntings. A flock of at least 82 SISKINS was encountered, with 8 LESSER REDPOLLS mixed in, for a while the flock visiting the track to drink on the puddles; 4 BULLFINCHES too
Alan Reynolds and I stood chatting for some time at the Watchpoint and I was very pleased to see the hard work that Alan and others had put in to managing the NW corner of the main lake - superb work - hopefully to pay off with some nice waders.