If you have seen a bird of interest at Grafham Water, please report this to the County Recorder, via the Cambridgeshire Bird Club website, or report a bird sighting by clicking here
All sightings are unchecked and must be verified by the Cambridgeshire Bird Club rarity committee.
December started well, with the drake Long-tailed Duck still present in the vicinity of the harbour, near Mander Car Park. The bird showed well at times and was last seen on the 8th. Also still present was the Red-throated Diver which remained until the month-end, although was reported irregularly. On the 2nd, a Slavonian Grebe was seen briefly from the dam, although it was not present the next day. The following day, the gull roost revealed at least three Mediterranean Gulls, two adults and a first winter, along with a probable adult Caspian Gull. The same day a Bar-tailed Godwit passed through.
Two Smew on the 13th enlightened an early morning visit and were the first of the winter. They were seen again on 28th at Savages Creek. Around the same time a Knot appeared around the south shore near Mander Car Park and remained for the rest of the month. Individual Knot have been a feature of the last few winters at Grafham Water. On the 18th 11 Goosander was a good count, and 4 Mandarin added a taste of the exotic. The following day, an adult female Scaup arrived at the east end of the reservoir and was present until the end of the month with the assembled diving ducks near the dam. It was regularly seen diving for freshwater mussels. Towards the month end, numbers of Great Crested Grebes began to rise, with over 470 at the east end alone on 21st. The month ended well with a smart juvenile Great Northern Diver being found by Mark Hawkes at the east end of the reservoir, mid-afternoon on 28th. This was presumed to be the individual that has been present at nearby Paxton Pits for a few weeks (see photos from Grafham here and Paxton here.
November continued Grafham's purple patch. The month started quietly enough with the lingering Common Tern still hanging around the harbour. An unusually late record, this bird which was later aged as an adult moulting into winter plumage was sadly found dead on 9th. A few Siskins were around the feeders by the Harbour View Restaurant on the 3rd, but things really hotted up the next day when I found a summer-plumaged adult Great Northern Diver, while checking the gull roost off the Sailing Club. This cracker stayed until 3.25pm the next day when it flew off high to the north. This is the first record since mid-November 2002.
Amazingly, this diver proved to be the first in a series of outstanding records. On the morning of the 9th I struck lucky again by picking up another Great Northern Diver, this time a winter-plumaged adult, off Mander Car Park. Unfortunately, the bird left to the east twenty minutes later and was narrowly missed by arriving birders. The following day, it was Colin Addington's turn, as he found a juvenile Black-throated Diver. This bird, unlike the two Great Northerns, found Grafham Water to it's liking and was probably still present at the end of the month. Like the first Great Northern, the Black-throat at times proved to be very elusive. On the 18th, the outstanding series continued, with two Red-throated Divers arriving mid-afternoon. It appeared that these two moved on quickly, although the finding of a single Red-throat on the 20th suggests that one may have stayed, but this could have easily been a new bird. On a couple of subsequent dates both Red and Black-throated were reported and with a Great Northern Diver present at nearby Paxton Pits on the 27-28th, it was possible to see all three species within the county.
Due to the presence of the divers, a selection of other good birds were found. On the 4th an adult Kittiwake put in an appearance, followed by an adult Little Gull the next day. The same day, 2 Little Egrets were present, with singles seen on several dates. The large numbers here previously seem to have dispersed. Our monthly WeBS counts usually turn up a good bird, and on the 6th a Hen Harrier flying across the reservoir was a great find for Mark Hawkes and a good Grafham tick for most of the regulars. A couple of Bramblings were seen the same day and also on the 9th, when a very late Hobby was reported. On the 11th, a Red-necked Grebe arrived and remained until the 14th.
The arrival of 2 Common Scoters on the 15th did not really prepare Mark Hawkes for the sight of 48 sitting out in the middle of the reservoir on the 17th! Unfortunately, apart from one individual (which was probably a new arrival), they departed overnight. Two days earlier a late Garganey was seen in Dudney Creek along with two Mandarins. The 18th proved to be a good day with 4 Bewick's Swans pausing at the reservoir briefly, adding to Black-throated Diver, 2 x Red-throated Diver and Common Scoter; a good haul for any inland site.
Small numbers of Redpoll, Siskin and Goosander made things start to feel more wintery during the month, particularly with the onset of some prolonged cold weather. The month went out with a bang with a smart male Long-tailed Duck found by Nigel Sprowell on the 29th. This is the first record since 13 May 2004, which was also an adult male.
Well, if September had been good, October was just awesome. On my first day out birding at Grafham following three weeks in South Africa, I chanced upon a Leach's Petrel flying over the water off the lagoons. After a few minutes it settled on the reservoir and having confirmed the identification I then hurried back to my car to phone the news out. I relocated the bird off Mander Car Park ten minutes later and shortly Mark Hawkes, Colin Addington and Stuart Elsom arrived and enjoyed views of the bird. A little under an hour after finding it, we were horrified to see a juvenile Peregrine come storming in, and after several near misses, struck the petrel. It crashed into the water and was soon dispatched by a Great Black-backed Gull. Other observers arrived seconds too late to see the gull flying around with the poor petrel's wings hanging out of it's mouth. A sad end to a great bird and the first confirmed sighting at Grafham since 1983.
The day prior to the Leach's Petrel had seen a few migrants passing through, with a female Stonechat in the lagoons together with a Northern Wheatear. Dunlin numbers were still high and had reached 29, presumably making the most of the low water levels. 9 Ruddy Duck was a good count the same day, as was 10 Common Buzzards. The 4th revealed brief Wood Sandpiper and Tree Pipit, but neither hung around. Also found on the 4th were two Common Scoter. The following day, two Rock Pipits appeared along the dam, a regular spot for this species, which became a regular sight throughout the month.
More excitement followed on the 7th, when Mark Hawkes and Duncan Poyser found a pair of Twite at Marlow Car Park. In days gone by, this species was regular in winter, but is now much rarer. While I was unsuccessfully looking for these birds with Debbie McKenzie, a small wader flew past calling with a group of Ringed Plovers. I did not recognise the call and swore that the small, long-winged peep had a white rump, but as it disappeared across the reservoir, I shrugged, assuming I would never see it again. Minutes later, it dropped in on the shore right in front of us, where it revealed to our amazement that is was indeed Grafham's first White-rumped Sandpiper! I got a few shaky photos and then phoned the news out and the rest is history. This, the third for Cambridgeshire, showed very well during it's stay until the 22nd, despite the often high pressure some photographers put on the bird. Two Common Scoter were present the same day.
Good numbers of Redpoll (of undetermined species) and Siskin passed over regularly all month, reflecting the large influx from the continent. Two Ruff were seen on the 9th, followed by a pair of Little Egrets on the 11th. Despite the heavy birder traffic to see the sandpiper, little else was seen mid-month, apart from another fly-over Tree Pipit on the 14th, the same day as Colin Addington had a Whooper Swan fly over, which is a very rare visitor to Grafham Water. The next day, a Crossbill was heard flying over too.
Continuing the excitement, Colin Addington found a juvenile Gannet late afternoon on the 17th. The bird seemed in good condition and was seen to depart high to the southeast at dawn the next day. This is the first Grafham record for about 5 years. Another Common Scoter appeared on the 21st and stayed until 26th. On the 22nd, a scan of a Redpoll flock on the shore near Dudney revealed to my delight, a single Twite. The bird was watched for half a minute feeding on weed seeds before the flock took flight. Although the Redpolls settled in nearby trees, the Twite continued to fly around calling and eventually appeared to drop back on the shore, but could not be refound. The following day, a Slavonian Grebe was a good find for David Hollin on the WeBS count. This is the first Slav this year and completes the "grebe set". The same day, a Northern Wheatear was present and two Bramblings around the Harbour View Restaurant continued the autumnal feel.
The month ended comparatively quietly, with 10 Pintail on the 25th, a drake Red-crested Pochard on 27th, 25 Pink-footed Geese over west on the 29th and a good build up of Goldeneye reaching 34 by the last day of the month. In addition, a Merlin was seen on 23rd and 29th, and a first winter Common Tern was still hanging around the boom off Mander CP until the end of the month.
The month started fantastically well, with 11 Black Terns, at least 6 Little Egrets and a Black-tailed Godwit on the first, with the star bird of the month being found the next day - a cracking Wryneck. Found during the afternoon, the bird went to ground and could not be relocated. Fortunately, shortly before dusk, it was found in the same spot, near the bottom of Church Lane. It showed sitting within a bush until dark. The following morning found the bird showing well feeding on the grassy reservoir bank. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was still present nearby, and the Little Egret count had risen to 10, another new site record. A Peregrine showed up briefly, which was possibly last month's bird. On the 4th, 18 Ringed Plovers and over 50 Yellow Wagtails on the shore near Marlow Car Park were both good counts for the site.
By the 9th, the number of Little Egrets had risen to an amazing 14! 20 Black Terns provided a fine sight, but no White-winged Black Terns could be picked out, despite their presence elsewhere in the country. A Knot pitched in with two Turnstone, 3 Curlew and 5 Ruff in a flurry of wader passage the same day. Two Garganey was a good find on the lagoons also. The following day, I headed off for warmer climes in South Africa (see trip report), and Colin Addington found a juvenile Sabine's Gull. Unfortunately, it had vanished in poor weather before it could be twitched. 9 Black Tern and an Arctic Tern were also present.
A Common Scoter and Black-necked Grebe on the 12th were followed by a Little Stint the next day. Mid-month, an Osprey turned up briefly on the 15th, followed by two Little Gulls the next day. The first Goldeneye of the autumn pitched in on the 18th, along with a Pintail. Intrigue arrived on the 21st, when Mark Hawkes had brief views of a phalarope species, which he thought most likely to be Red-necked, but alas it disappeared before the identification could be clinched. The same day, 2 Swifts and 2 Black-necked Grebes appeared, with a Red-necked Grebe the next day.
An exciting month came to a close with increasing numbers of Dunlin, including 23 on the 27th, 27 next day, rising to 32 by the 29th. On the 27th, these were joined by single Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. Elsewhere, 2 Green Sandpipers lurked around the shore and a small number of Black and Common Terns moved through.
Following on from an exciting July, August continued Grafham's run of "good" birds. The undoubted highlight was the summer-plumaged adult Sabine's Gull found early afternoon on the 21st. I was unfortunately at Birdfair and could not get back before dark, so missed it. However, it showed well to all visitors on a glorious sunny afternoon. A Purple Sandpiper was another good find, a species having been seen only a dozen or so times in the county previously. This bird was seen regularly between the 20th and 26th, although was elusive at times.
Wader-wise, Grafham had a good month. A small number of Whimbrel passed through early in the month, though none lingered. At the other end of the month, 14 Curlew flew over east on the 30th, followed by an unprecedented 24 the next day. 1 or 2 Black-tailed Godwits were seen on several dates and Greenshank numbers peaked at 10 towards the month end. Redshank were thin on the ground, with only a couple of singles seen. Ruff, on the other hand, had a good showing, with small groups present throughout. Single Turnstones were present on four dates, probably involving three individuals. Single Curlew Sandpipers (15-16th), Knot, (13th & 18th) and Green Sandpiper (20th) also put in an appearance. 2 Little Stint appeared on the 1st and were still present the next day, with another single on the 9th. Common Sandpiper numbers seemed low, peaking at 12 on 4th.
An Osprey was the star raptor during the month on 28th, closely followed by an early Peregrine on the 9th and 4 Hobbies on 21st. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was a good find on the 7th.
A Mediterranean GUll on the 1st was the first of a series of records of this species, along with Yellow-legged Gulls, which peaked at over 30 on the 3rd. Common Terns gathered in large numbers with 313 on the 4th being a new county record. 4 Arctic Terns on the 10th was notable as they have had a quiet autumn at Grafham. The only Sandwich Tern, a juvenile, turned up on the 20th and was still present the next day. Black Terns were present in small numbers throughout the month, with 15 on the 31st the highest count, the same day as there was a single Little Gull.
Little Egret numbers continued to rise, with at least 7 by the month-end, a new site record. A single juvenile Black-necked Grebe arrived on the evening of 9th, with three more on the 27th. A single Common Scoter was found on the 10th and five Ruddy Ducks were present on the 1st.
If June is the quietest month here at Grafham, then July really sees things pick up on the birding front. A steady wader passage continued, with at least seventeen species recorded. The wader highlight was undoubtedly the superb summer plumage Curlew Sandpiper found by Colin Addington on the shore near Marlow CP on 12th. Things got off to a good start with 2 Ringed and 4 Little Ringed Plovers on 3rd, along with up to 4 Common Sandpipers. Next day, 5 LRPs graced the dam, presumably birds which had bred nearby. A Greenshank arrived on the 5th and one or two birds were then present throughout the month. On the 12th, the first Whimbrel of the return passage was seen heading south, while 2 Dunlin accompanied the Curlew Sandpiper at Marlow. 14 Black-tailed Godwits in the lagoons was a good count, but they soon departed. A flurry came a week later, on the 19th, when 4 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, a Curlew and a Sanderling all turned up. The Sanderling remained for the next two days. On the 23rd, a Turnstone began a two day stay, whilst Common Sandpiper numbers rose to over 10. On the 30th, 4 Little Stints were an excellent find for Dave Hollin on the shore at Marlow. The 31st rounded off a good month, with a Green Sandpiper along the north shore, another Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Greenshank still present.
Gull numbers began to increase with the conclusion of breeding for many birds. Large numbers of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were joined by small numbers of Herring, Common and Great Black-backed. The highlight however, was a record count of 34 Yellow-legged Gulls on the last date of the month, along with an equal county record of 3 Mediterranean Gulls on the same day. A juvenile Med Gull was also seen on 23rd.
Common Terns from nearby breeding sites began congregating, with colour-ringed juveniles being identified as being from the colony in Willington, c20 miles to the south in Bedfordshire. Numbers bulit to over 150 by the end of the month, although an accurate count was hard due to their dispersal around the site. A single Black Tern on the 30th was the only other tern species of note.
Wildfowl numbers became very high, with large numbers of Coot (c800), Mute Swan (c150), Tufted Duck (c300) and Great Crested Grebes (c100). More unusual widlfowl were a Red-crested Pochard on 1st and 11th at least, a Garganey in Dudney Creek on 24th, a Mandarin with 2 chicks on 9th a and a feral Barnacle Goose joining the local goose flock early in the month.
One of the highlights of the month was the arrival of several Little Egrets. These could be seen around the site, but notably on the point off Plummer CP and in Dudney, Littless and Savages Creeks. The first was seen on the 8th and built to at least 5 by the month end. At the time of writing in early August, there are 6 present. This is the highest count for the site.
Other notable records include a Marsh Harrier on the 24th, seven Common Scoter off Church Lane on 27th, 3 Spotted Flycatchers on 6th and 2 Crossbills on 11th. The Crossbills were part of a large influx into the UK, and were seen in the pines at Savages before being relocated near the cross-roads in Littless Wood. It is highly likely that these birds or other birds could still be present. On 17th a juvenile Northern Wheatear was on the dam.
June is often the quietest month bird-wise, and this year was no exception! Attentions turned elsewhere with bats and plants featuring strongly. A bat and moth evening mid-month located lots of Daubenton's, Soprano and Common Pippistrelle bats around the site. Bee and Common Spotted Orchids put on a fine display around Grafham Water, notably in the lagoons.
The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was found in Littless Wood on the 5th, when there were 2 Little Ringed Plovers on the dam. 4 Black terns arrived on the 11th. It has been an incredibly quiet spring for this species, possibly due to the lack of easterly winds. 2 Spotted Flycatchers were present near Marlow Car Park on the same day, suggesting they may breed in the area again.
3 Yellow-legged Gulls Were hanging around the dam on 14th, along with a Common Sandpiper. Towards the end of the month, waders started to trickle through, possibly failed breeders from northern Britain on their way south already. Water levels began to drop at last, and on the 22nd a Greenshank put in an appearance in the lagoons. On the 28th another Greenshank arrived, along with a Black-tailed Godwit. Barn Owls were found to be breeding in the village of Perry, with adults watched carrying food to a nest hole during the warm evenings mid month. Hobbies began patrolling the skies above Perry, where they were seen on a number of occasions harassing the local martins and swallows.
May got off to a great start, with last month's star bird, the Ring-necked Duck still present in the lagoons and 6 Common Scoters on the reservoir, on the 1st. Three days later, strong winds brought a large passage of Arctic Terns across the midlands, with Mark Hawkes witnessing a cracking flock of 70+ pass through Grafham Water late afternoon. Two more were seen on 7th, but otherwise this species was scarce this spring.
The Ring-necked Duck finally departed on the 12th. An Osprey caused some excitement on 13th-14th and was seen to catch fish in the reservoir. Wader passage picked up mid-month, following small numbers of Common Sandpipers and Dunlin earlier in the month. 4 Sanderling were present on the dam 16th-17th, joined by a Grey Plover on the latter date. The next day, 2 Turnstones and 2 Little Ringed Plovers were present on the dam. Sanderlings appeared again later in the month, with 1 on 23rd and 2 the next day and 1 on the 31st. Mandarin, a recent phenomenon at Grafham, were found to be present mid month, with at least 5 males present, which suggests females may be breeding nearby. On 22nd, a Garganey paused briefly in the lagoons, although in contrast to the last two years, was not seen subsequently.
The month started quietly, before a change in the weather brought an influx of migrants on the 4th. This included the first Sandwich Tern of the year, plus 2 Common Terns, Swallow, Sedge Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear.
This did not prepare me for the following morning, when a pre-work scoot round the lagoons revealed the star bird of the year so far. I was casually scanning through the Tufted Duck flock, when a bird bobbed up with bright white rings around a dark grey bill. I immediately thought "Oh my God, a drake Ring-necked Duck!", but it dived again. For what seemed like an age, I waited for it to reappear. It did and I was able to confirm the bill and flank patterns, the headshape and even the cinammon ring round it's neck. The bird looked very edgy, so I quickly got some very shaky footage before phoning the news out. Within ten minutes Colin Addington and Matt Hamilton (The Wildlife Trust's Grafham Water warden) had arrived and confirmed the sighting, closely followed by Mark Hawkes. Although occasionally leaving the lagoons for a short period, the bird remained faithful to the lagoons where it regularly displayed to female Tufted Ducks. On one occasion it was attacked and nearly killed by a territorial Coot, but within a day or two it had recovered. During it's stay, it attracted a steady stream of visitors being the first twitchable bird in the county for several years, and only the second ever for Grafham Water, following a male shared with Paxton Pits, from 18-20 February 1978. The bird was still present at the month end.
Gulls were still in evidence, with 2 Little Gulls on the 6th, followed by 7 Kittiwakes on the 8th, continuing the good spring passage for this species. Another Kittiwake was present on the 10th, followed by a Caspian Gull on the 12th. Possibly the same Caspian Gull was seen in the lagoons on the 16th, which I photographed. 10 cracking adult Little Gulls flew east along the reservoir on 18th.
A report of 2 Long-tailed Skuas flying east on 23rd set hearts racing, although the observer later re-identified the pair as Arctic Skuas, which is still an excellent record.
Wader passage was predictably slow, due to high water levels, with nearby Paxton Pits attracting the lion's share. A Knot appeared on the dam on the 9th, followed by 5 Little Ringed Plovers the next day and single Whimbrels on 16th and 21st.
Passerines were much in evidence, the highlights being two Ring Ouzels that I found in the lagoons on 16th. The 16th was a good day for migration, with the year's first Lesser Whitethroats, Reed Warbler and Cuckoo also being seen. Wagtail numbers built up along the dam and in nearby fields, attracted to the swarms of insects. The star was a male Blue-headed Wagtail on 11th, together with at least 5 smart White Wagtails.
April proved to be quiet for birds of prey, as many of the local birds settled down to breed. A Red Kite on 10th and a female Marsh Harrier on the 18th were the only records of note.
Duck numbers tailed off, with most birds remaining either breeding or presumed non-breeders. Two Common Scoters on the 13th were expected, and were followed by 3 on 15th.
Single Arctic Terns, 20th, and Little Egrets, 25th, rounded off an eventful month.
Following a blank winter, both large white-winged gulls appeared during the month. Colin Addington found a first winter Glaucous Gull in the roost on 4th, followed by a first winter Iceland Gull found by Mark Hawkes on 27th. Caspian Gulls were again a feature, with a first winter on 14th, followed by a second winter seen on 29th and 31st. Yellow-legged Gulls were present most nights in the roost in small numbers, with a peak of 4 on the 31st. The regular second summer is still seen most days. Kittiwakes were a feature of the month, with a small passage noted. Two adults were found on 2nd, followed by 3 on the 8th, with between 5 and 7 in the evening's roost. One was present the next day and a further single was seen on 13th. All individuals were adults, perhaps reflecting the appalling breeding season the species had in the North Sea last year.
Wildfowl numbers continued to dwindle, though 29 Ruddy Ducks on 5th was a good count. Four Goosanders were noted on 2nd, while 80 Wigeon were still around mid-month. The first Common Scoter of the year arrived in the form of two females on 27-28th.
Passerine migration was also in evidence with Rock Pipits turning up on 9th (a pair near Marlow CP) and 10th (a single). On 19th news came of a Black Redstart west of Mander CP, found by David Lawrence. Unfortunately, the news did not come out until after dark and there was no sign next day of this rare Grafham bird. As luck would have it, Mark Hawkes did superbly to find another on the dam on 23rd. This bird performed really well as it flicked around on top of the cafe at Marlow CP, late afternoon.
It was a quieter month for raptors, though Red Kites continued to be seen occasionally, and a count of five Buzzards on the 12th, may indicate passage birds mingling with local residents.
Grafham had a very quiet month, with a prolonged cold spell in the second half of the month bringing lots of snow, but few birds. The immature Shag was still present until the third at least, but was the only seabird of note. Six Mandarins on the second was a good count for Grafham, as was 8 Goosander on the fourth, which is this winter's highest total. Waterfowl numbers tailed off during the month, although Great Crested Grebes were still present in force, with c465 counted at the east end alone mid month. Two drake Smew made a brief visit on 7th, probably from nearby Paxton Pits, where up to 13 have been recorded. Smalll numbers of Ruddy Duck were still present, and the "black-headed stifftail" was still present.
A cracking Red Kite was seen close to Savages Hide early on 13th, the highlight of an otherwise quiet WeBS count.
Gulls continued to feature, with a substantial roost being present most nights. With the continual northerly airflow, the north shore was the place to be in the second half of the month, although frustratingly, neither Iceland or Glaucous Gulls made an appearance. A fine adult Mediterranean Gull showed well on the boom in front of the Harbour View on a number of dates in the first half of the month.Yellow-legged Gulls were again present most nights, with three recorded on 19th.
The most intriguing record of the month was a Cetti's Warbler, which was reported by an unknown observer. The bird had been heard around the Dragonfly Pond on 6th, but was not found in a subsequent search. If the record is accepted, it would be only the second for Grafham Water.
The Tree Sparrow recorded by Model Farm earlier in the winter, was seen coming to a garden feeder in Grafham village on 8th.
The year got off to a fairly slow start, with cold, overcast weather and a blustery, southwesterly wind. Two Smew brightened up New Years Day, as did a Caspian Gull in the roost (Mark Hawkes). January's highlight has been the immense gathering of Great Crested Grebes, which numbered over 800 by mid month. Perhaps surprisingly, none of the scarce grebes put in an appearance. The previous highest counts at Grafham were 950 in February 1985 and 915 in February 1991. It is interesting that both of these counts reflected harsh late winter weather, so the current count may rise sharply if the weather worsens next month.
Gale-force westerlies rocked the country at the beginning of the second week, possibly contributing to the arrival of a Shag on 10th (Colin Addington). Unfortunately, the bird did not stay long. Towards the end of the month, a second winter was found by Mark Hawkes and myself fishing off the lagoons. It roosted each afternoon on the water tower off Hill Farm and was present until the month end.
Wildfowl numbers were not correspondingly high. Two Pintail, a scarce duck at Grafham, paused in Savages Creek on the 2nd, with three males on 25th. Ruddy Duck numbers peaked at 22 on 25th, with a "black-headed stifftail" being present from the 15th. This bird could well be the bird present for a day last summer, which has subsequently been seen at a number of sites in the county. It is currently in eclipse and is distinguished by it's small size, broad-based, black bill, dark head and long tail. Shoveler peaked at 220 on the 2nd, moving between the lagoons and Savages Creek. Goosander numbers remained very low, with a maximum of 3 on 17th. A redhead Smew was a bonus for one birder on 21st. Adding a splash of colour, 6 Mandarins on 23rd was a good count.
Raptors were much in evidence during the month, with a Peregrine seen on a number of occasions. On 28th, it was seen sparring with a Common Buzzard. A Merlin was seen a couple of times around Savages Creek. A Barn Owl performed each night along the Buckden-Perry road, near the pumping station, perching on the roadside fence and hunting over the rought grassland at the foot of the dam. This or another bird frequented the same area in early 2004.
Water Rails, one of the more secretive of Grafham residents, have been very active, with up to three showing in the lagoons, where 43 Common Snipe were counted mid-month. Note, this area is private.
A Green Sandpiper on 23rd, was the only interesting wader reported. Gull-action started to hot up, with two Caspian Gulls being the highlights; a first-winter on the boom, late afternoon on 16th (Duncan Poyser & Mark Hawkes), and a third-winter in the roost, off the harbour, on 22nd (Jono Leadley). A regular second-winter Yellow-legged Gull has been loafing around the reservoir most afternoons, often around the harbour. Additionally, two adults were seen on 8th, and a third-winter has made occasional appearances in the roost. An adult Mediterranean Gull showed well off the lagoons mid-afternoon, on 22nd (Jono Leadley). Few interesting passerines were noted, though 1-2 Chiffchaffs were noted wintering in bushes around Dudney Creek, Savages, Marlow Car Park and the lagoons.
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