Monday, 27 April 2009


Calvert BBOWT; 5 p.m

Sat in 2nd hide waiting for approaching storm with one species in mind, having done this loads of times with usually not a lot happening!!

The storm hit, torrential rain and then hail. I was just getting disheartened when a swirling mass of ARCTIC TERNS appeared from nowhere at South end of lake. Some dropped onto water briefly, they then careered around lake, not really feeding. Counted them over and over and kept making flock c 60. When in a line then made it 53 a few times.

They stayed about 10minutes and then flew up high and off in a tight wader like flock. Raced over to sailing lake and 6 of them were on there. These fed for 10 minutes then circled BBOWT lake high up for another 10 minutes. Then there were 11 which flew off N/E in tight flock, think they were looking for the rest of the big flock?

A fantastic sight and the largest flock I've ever seen and one of my best birdwatching experiences ever!! Digi-scoping them out of question so took lots with small compact camera with no zoom lens; don't know if got whole flock but got as many as could fit in!!

Also Common Sandpiper on rafts and 5 Common Tern (Tim Watts)

Heavy rain forces down ARCTIC TERN flock

A magnificent flock of 53 ARCTIC TERNS have just dropped (17:05) into Calvert BBOWT (Tim Watts)

Reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER still at Calvert

The reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER is still present at Calvert today (Tim Watts)




Calvert sailing lake; On 2nd visit today when it rained 5 ARCTIC TERNS dropped in but left when weather cleared. Also during rain 60 Swallow and 9 Common Terns.

Gareth came down for Terns and we spotted what suspected was a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER low down in bush on open area to right. Lost it, but walked along and Gareth heard one reeling close to us on left. We had brilliant views (10mts) 4 times of it climbing up and reeling on tangled brambles. Got some pics but itwas too close!! hard to find with digi set-up.

Mike Hunt arrived and took an hour to see it, although reeling a lot. During this time our original suspected bird also reeling in middle of open area. So 2 at moment, only 2nd I've seen at Calvert.

Lots of common warblers and Mike had a Garden Warbler on reserve (Tim Watts)

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Yellow Wagtails and Common Redshanks at the reserve pools yesterday (Tim Watts)
Calvert; Not been for a few days and amazed still no Common Terns on BBOWT lake on this date. 2 on bouys on sailing lake but gone on later return visit.Heard my first COMMON CUCKOO of Spring though.

Hillesden; Usual waders back on islands after last weeks yob and dog mayhem!! 5 Yellow Wagtails and Gareth had a EURASIAN CURLEW (think 1st for site) yesterday. It was on grass area between pools then on mud later. Flew off 4pm.

Botolph Claydon: Raven twisting right over and cronking in flight being mobbed by Carrion Crows (Tim Watts)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Quainton Hills this evening

9 NORTHERN WHEATEARS found. 6 together on East slopes and 3 together at base of North slopes (Tim Watts)

Monday, 20 April 2009


5 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on East slopes and a female RING OUZEL in hedge line along top. Not seen one in this spot before and a long way from yesterday's sighting. Different one? It was right next to main path, slowly and silently moving ahead of me in hedge. Wasn't at all sure it was one as could hardly see it in hedge. As path got closer it started chacking and flew to top of tree. Then flew into dense bushes and not seen again (Tim Watts)


Quainton Hills; early a.m 5 NORTHERN WHEATEAR all in East slope hollow and a female RING OUZEL at bottom of West slopes. The Ouzel just wasn't twitchable so didn't spread news. Went down west slopes (not the regular Ouzel hedge line) to find more sheltered area, hardly ever have time to look down here. Saw it twice, briefly with Blackbirds in horse paddock at base of Conduit Hill. Spooked by people tending horses. I returned an hour later but even more activity and not seen again. Viewed from slopes of Conduit hill in smallish paddock to left of Hogshaw Hill Farm.

Calvert; on 2nd visit of day had my first tern of the year, a Common on raft.

3 Grizzled Skippers on dry sailing lake slopes (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

GOLDEN PLOVER flock clings on

Quainton Hills; scanned up from many roadside spots but only Mipits seen. Calvert; c60 Swallow/c 10 House Martin resting in dead trees. Hillesden pools; Usual suspects + 143 European Golden Plover in breeding plumage still in low crop to right of pools. Gloomy weather actually helped me get my best pics yet of them (see above), no heat haze off crop. A male Grey Wagtail in breeding plumage was unusual (Tim Watts)


HILLESDEN POOLS; 6 Redshank/2 Oystercatcher/2 Yellow Wagtail/1 White Wagtail/ 1 smart male Northern Wheatear/2 Snipe/ c 18 Lapwing. The flock of c100 European Golden Plover is still about, the majority in full breeding plumage (see photographs above), some with jet black underparts so think Northern birds?. They are either in low crop or fine tilled fields around pools. If loafing/roosting in low crop virtually invisible!! Today feeding in fine tilled field behind pools and more visible. Four, including splendid black and gold one on mud on pools preening breifly before being chased off by breeding Lapwing (Tim Watts)

Monday, 6 April 2009


European Golden Plovers- Hillesden- 3/4/09

Some in fantastic breeding plumage.Very unusually this flock of c150 is fairly
confiding for Goldies!! Made no attempt to approach closer but took pics from same
track others using at c 100mts (Tim Watts)


Tim Watts photographed this RING OUZEL at Quainton Hills on 5 April, one of only three recorded in the county this year.