Saturday, 3 March 2012

Out West

I ventured out to the west of the county yesterday afternoon. Primarily to visit the Gallows Farm Nature Reserve as there were a few birds around that I still needed for my county yearlist.
 As luck would have it I was just setting off when news came through of a Whooper Swan at Hillesden. This was on my way so it would be rude not to have called in. Sure enough very distantly in the valley, where I had seen the Great Grey Shrike last year, in the company of 5 Mutes was an adult Whooper - a good start.
 A bit further up the road at Edgcotte a Red Kite soared low over some farm buildings. This was to be the first of five birds that I saw during the afternoon.
 Arriving at Gallows Bridge I was greeting by the distinct babbling call of a Curlew - the regular birds having returned - and looking over the entrance field three birds were soon spotted.
 A walk up to the hides didn't produce too much more as Mick was working up there but from the second, distantly a flock of some 130 ish Stock Doves, 3 Buzzards, a flock of 50 odd Linnets and a Red-legged Partridge sat on a gatepost were spotted.
 Back at the car park I met Tim Watts and while chatting to him he pointed out a Peregrine on one of the Pylons and shortly after a Raven on top of another.
 Tim informed me that there had been an Iceland Gull on Calvert BBOWT lake a little earlier so I decided to make this my next call -' I wouldn't miss it as being a second winter and totally white it stood out like a sore thumb'. Well I did miss it. After scanning through the numerous Lesser-black backs several times I think I can safely say it wasn't there.
 A quick look in at Stony Stratford Nature Reserve on the way back showed the two now regular Oystercatchers to be back on site
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 All in all this proved to be a very productive afternoon, despite missing out on the Iceland Gull I managed 4 county yearticks and 2 British yearticks, taking me on to 99 and 126 respectively.
 Migration starts any day now !!!

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