I arrived first on sight this morning at 4:30am (thanks to a lift from my mum) and headed for the hide in hope of hearing it singing from the reedbed. 5 o'clock came and went and still no sighting, even more surprising were the lack of twitchers (probably all twitching the Cream-coloured Courser in Herefordshire). However, during my wait, I did hear my first CUCKOO of the year, see my first REED WARBLER of the year and listen to a ♂ Tawny Owl hooting in the twilight. The number of hirundines also increased dramatically until at least 1000+ were present circling over the reservoir. After some time three observers came and dipped. Next I decided to go into the meadows behind the reedbed just in case I could hear it from there. I was very fortunate to bump into Francis Buckle, Chris and Roy Hargreaves who soon directed me to an ideal spot. As soon as we arrived, the song of a trilling SAVI'S WARBLER reached our ears (bliss) and definitely not short of a crippling experience despite not seeing the bird. We continued around the southern border of the reservoir were the only other bird of note was a singing Whitethroat. On our return to the south east corner of the reservoir, the House Martin numbers were still in their hundreds accompanied by lesser numbers of Swallows and Swifts also hawking over the water and amongst them a single Sand Martin. From the jetty Chris kindly pointed out an adult summer BLACK TERN on the barely bails amongst several Common Terns.
Mute Swans in flight
Amongst the Commons was a tern sp. of similar build and features except for the beak, which was fully black except for a slight reddish tinge at the base. 1st-summer Common Tern came to mind, however, I believe these are far less common as they don't generally return this far north on their return migration, any opinions welcome.
probably the best shot I got of the pos. 1st-sum. Common Tern
MARSWORTH AND STARTOP'S END RESERVOIR
Not much on Startop's End Reservoir when I visited, however, I didn't thoroughly check the borders for the nesting Little Ringed Plovers as I was in a rush to get back home by midday. Only birds of note was a family of Canada Geese and fledgling Pied Wagtails on the far bank and the large number of hirundines. Marsworth produced a calling CUCKOO which I quickly located in the exact same tree in which I had seen it last year and kept calling for most of the remainder of my visit.
a rather distant digi-scoping attempt of the calling male Cuckoo
Also of note were 2+ Reed Warblers, 2♂ Reed Buntings and a ♀ Grey Wagtail on the neighbouring canal.