Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Spring Already! - 8.2.20

Ring Ouzel

I popped over to drop some money off to George Moreton at his new house and to have a quick nose round and on the way I flushed up 2 Yellowhammer from the roadside into the hedges along the lane which were an unexpected year tick.

Ring Ouzel

After I headed over to Pitstone Hill where quite quickly I connected with the male Ring Ouzel that had over wintered. It's not a species I see every year but usually in a year I do see them I see them more than once. This one was my 26th in the UK.

2002 - 2
2004 - 3
2011 - 2
2014 - 3
2016 - 5
2018 - 2

So I wonder if this will be a multiple year? Time will tell!

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Hemel - 29.1.20

I was just about to pull the living room curtains when I noticed a large looking crow approaching at tree top height from the north. As it was just about to pass over the house I realised it was my first Raven of the year!

Monday, 27 January 2020

Cassiobury Park - 27.1.20

A day spent litter picking the park produced 5 Mandarin and Little Owl for the year list taking me to 129 species drawing me level with this time last year. Other notables were Kingfisher and 30 Siskin.

Norfolk pt 2 - 26.1.20

Caspian Gull

We stayed the night in Sheringham and before breakfast we went to try and see the long staying 1st winter Caspian Gull. As luck would have it the first bird I laid eyes on was it! My second Norfolk tick of the weekend with the wagtail. 4 Red-throated Diver flew past off shore but we failed to see the Purple Sandpiper.

We made our way back west along the coast road stopping off at various places first of which was Salthouse. We parked by the duck pond and upon exiting the car a Chiffchaff gave a brief burst of song! Not something I'd heard before in January. But our main target took a few minutes of searching before it flew in over our heads and showed well before flying off into the distance. My favourite bird the Waxwing.

At Cley a quick walk down the east bank got us the hoped for Bearded Tits.

Wells didn't give us the Rough-legged Buzzard we wanted to see (my 2nd dip of the year for this species!) but Bullfinch was penned into our notebooks.

Our penultimate stop of the day was at the far end of Holkham Freshmarsh where we saw 2 Great White Egret and 3 White-fronted Geese.

Cockley Cley was our last stop but the weather had changed from sunny and calm to cloudy and windy and so that put paid to any hope of seeing Goshawk.

We finished on 115 species which equalled last years total and pushed my year list up to 127.

Norfolk - 25.1.20

George Moreton invited me along on a Norfolk weekender and so at 6am we were on our way North. First stop was Lynford Arboretum where we saw 3-4 Hawfinch in the paddocks with a similar number of Marsh Tit and a lone Reed Bunting. Crossbill were heard distantly but the biggest surprise was a singing Woodlark by the lake!

ABHEY Wagtail!

70+ Golden Plover flew over Ickburgh after leaving Lynford and then it was a 40 minute drive to our next stop at Sedgeford where straight away we connected with the (Alaskan) Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail on its favoured manure pile!  A couple of Red Kite were also noted.

At Old Hunstanton we dipped a Black Redstart but did add Brent Goose to the list.

Thornham delivered with 10 Twite, a couple of Linnet and Pink-footed Goose.


Titchwell saw the list boosted with the following year ticks. Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, 2 Spotted Redshank, Water Rail, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, 3 Long-tailed Duck and a Bittern.

2 of the 8 Cattle Egret

We had a quick visit to Burnham Overy Staithe to try to see the 7 Cattle Egret on the marsh only to find there were 8! This equalled the largest flock I'd seen of the species and that was the then record breaking flock of 8 at Maple Cross back in 1992! 30+ Ruff was a good sight.

Some of the Grey Partridge

Holkham also produced a good list of year ticks with 30 White-fronted Geese, 10 Grey Partridge, 30+ Snow Bunting, 2000+ Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Egyptian Goose and a handful of Rock Pipit.

We finished the day off at Stiffkey for the harrier roost. It was a very poor roost with just 2 Hen Harrier being seen and no Marsh Harrier or Barn Owl seen.

More Odds and Sods

A Sparrowhawk flew over Knutsford Rec on the 13th Jan

Lesser Redpoll and Mistle Thrush were added from Cassiobury Park on 15th Jan

A Treecreeper was seen on the 22nd Jan also at Cassiobury Park.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Odds and Sods

More year ticks trickled in through the week at work with Grey Wagtail over my old patch of the Mundens Estate on the 6th, Nuthatch at Garston on the 8th and a fly past Peregrine in Watford on the 9th Jan.