FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY
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The last day of the month proved to be dry and fairly cool at just 3.5 degrees C
I started off at HEDGERLEY LANDFILL where about 280 large white-headed gulls were present, including 173 Herring, 77 Lesser Black-backed, a near-adult YELLOW-LEGGED and 3 CASPIAN, an adult and two first-winters, one of which was bearing a yellow ring inscribed 'PNEL'; also 460 Black-headed and a single adult Common. Plenty of Red Kites (37+), over 70 Common Starlings, 8 Pied Wagtails, 130 Carrion Crow, 90 Rook, 170 Jackdaw, 3 Song Thrush and a Dunnock were also noted, as well as Ring-necked Parakeet.
On the opposite side of Beaconsfield, the CASTLEMAN'S FARM CHICKEN FIELDS held 106 Egyptian Geese, a single Greylag Goose, more Red Kites and 8 Stock Dove, while in the vicinity of the farm buildings were 2 Moorhen, 2 Collared Dove, 30 House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Blue Tit.
About half a mile east, the HICKNAHAM FARM MAIZE STRIPS yielded the largest single flock of STOCK DOVES I have ever seen - at least 530 birds - as well as 60 Jackdaw, Common Buzzard, 35 Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, 18 Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin and 5 Common Pheasants.
At BURNHAM BEECHES NNR, the Upper Pond held 11 MANDARIN DUCKS (8 drakes), 8 Mallard and 2 Moorhens, with the woodland producing two calling TAWNY OWLS (early afternoon), 2 Coal Tit, Blue Tit, 5 Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Wren, Chaffinch and 2 Redwing.
SPADE OAK PIT AT LITTLE MARLOW was still very muddy and flooded but looking from the east end I counted 6 PINTAIL (4 drakes) and a Little Egret. Scanning the distant flock of wildfowl, I picked up a pair of GARGANEY, so I quickly drove round to Church Lane to photograph them. They were showing quite well from the bench and within 10 minutes, local birder Adam Bassett joined me. There were also 7 COMMON SHELDUCK present, as well as 2 Egyptian Geese, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Mute Swan, 158 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 44 Gadwall, 75 Shoveler, 35 Pochard, 42 Tufted Duck and 2+ Common Snipe. Meanwhile, the island held 27 active nests of Sinensis Cormorant and 15+ of Grey Heron, with Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail also being tallied. Another dead Badger was on the Marlow Bypass.
In SCHOOL LANE, OLD AMERSHAM, a male Song Thrush was in full song, while SHARDELOES LAKE held a single Great Crested Grebe - the first back for the year. The Jackdaw roost at WHEATLEY WOOD held a staggering 1,770 birds by 6.00pm