Out on my bike again. This time I got up pretty early to fit in a couple of sites around the lower Colne Valley pits. My first stop was Croxley Common Moor in the hope of locating a singing Gropper but alas there was no sign. In fact none have been recorded here last year so my chances were slim already. My first singing WILLOW WARBLERS of the year were in subsong and they seemed to pave the way as I heard them singing almost everywhere. A couple of butterflies had also emerged by this time including more Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells. Other species of not included numerous Chiffchaffs (although surprisingly these seemed less abundant than the Willow Warblers!).
Next, on to Stockers where I caught a glimpse of the resident Cetti's Warbler at the causeway and 4 drake Red Crested Pochard on Bury Lake. Not a lot at Stockers unfortunately but several Blackcaps did burst into song.
News then came in of a Hoopoe at Tyttenhanger so after a lift from Ian we found ourselves scanning the field north of the main gravel pit. Unfortunately, the bird had flown but we did have a little compensation with the sight of c.20 Wheatear (mostly males) scuttling around the field and 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS (also males), a year tick for myself. I didn't pay much attention to the gravel pit but a couple Sand Martins and Swallows made themselves obvious by hawking over it and a Muntjac deer was feeding in a neighbouring field.