FRIDAY 10 MAY
Another day of strong WSW winds, although not as strong as yesterday. It remained dry throughout with some bright interludes - temperatures hovering around 14 degrees C.
Spent a few hours at COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT RESERVE this afternoon where waders were the order of the day. In addition to the breeding pair of OYSTERCATCHERS (see pic), 5 pairs of Lapwing and 8 Common Redshanks, were 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS, a single RINGED PLOVER (my first in the area this year and I still haven't seen one in Herts), a COMMON SANDPIPER and two summer-plumaged DUNLINS.
Joan and I did the wildfowl counts with all 16 Mute Swans in situ (including orange-ringed adult '4AFA'), at least 1 Greylag Goose pair still sitting, 2 drake Mallard, 2 drake Gadwall, a pair of SHOVELER and 17 Tufted Duck; also 6 active Coot nests still. A pair of Common Terns was prospecting on the westernmost island, whilst a LITTLE EGRET dropped in and fished in front of Octagon Hide for 5 minutes before flying off.
Migrantwise, little to be found, other than 35 Common Swifts, 5 House Martins and singles of both singing Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler
Whilst there, Paul Reed rang to say that his partner Nancy had seen the SHORT-EARED OWL again hunting by the vergeside to the north of IVINGHOE BEACON. Joan and I, Mike Campbell and Graham Smith rushed up there but there was no further sign. In fact, I spent from 1500 through 1830 hours there and yielded nothing more than 4 Common Kestrels, 3 Common Whitethroats and a trickle of Common Swifts moving west.
The display of BLUEBELLS in DOCKEY WOOD (ASHRIDGE FOREST) at SP 965 157 is resplendent and well worth a look (see my images below) whilst Rook activity was in full swing at the 15-strong colony in FLAUNDEN'S HOGPITS BOTTOM PLANTATION at TL 018 013