TUESDAY 20 AUGUST
The heat returned to the South today with temperatures climbing to a peak of 25 degrees C during the afternoon. The winds remained light and the skies cleared.
Although I got to COLLEGE LAKE BBOWT fairly swiftly, both the two ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWITS and juvenile RUFF had disappeared by the time I arrived (Mike & Rose had seen them just 10 minutes previously). Highlight for me was an adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULL with 21 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the main lake. Very little else of note: the 5 Mute Swans, just 1 female Tufted Duck and 1 well grown youngster and 5 remaining Common Terns.
The RESERVOIRS were equally devoid of action with nothing worth mentioning - STARTOP'S END yielding 87 Greylag Geese, 5 Common Terns and a Sparrowhawk.
Don Stone then 'phoned me whilst I was in Hemel Hempstead; he had found 2 NORTHERN WHEATEARS in CHENIES VILLAGE, a mile from my home. I had not seen one in the Recording Area this year so was very pleased to connect with both as they fed in the horse paddocks early afternoon (see images). A migrant SPOTTED FLYCATCHER was also in a neighbouring hedgerow, as well as 3 RING-NECKED PARAKEETS in the village. An impressive 35 House Sparrows were in residence at the farm buildings at TQ 019 983, where a calling Japanese Quail caused us some identification headaches at first.
I then got confirmation of a juvenile WOODCHAT SHRIKE in NORTHAMPTONSHIRE at Harrington Airfield just NNE of Langport - the first record there in over 150 years! It performed impeccably........