Sunday, 29 April 2018

Tring + College Lake - 28.4.18

As I had a couple of hours to spare before Carey headed out for the day I shot up to Wilstone Reservoir hopefully for some more year ticks. I bumped into George who was walking back to his car but as he didn't have his scope he asked to look through mine for any Arctic Terns. Quite quickly I picked one out in the NW corner above the trees and got him onto it and then I found a Common Sandpiper on the barley bales. 2 year ticks in 2 minutes wasn't bad! He then left to join his girlfriend. I gave it another 30 minutes and in that time I added another Arctic Tern, Sand Martin, Hobby and Yellow Wagtail into the notebook.

At Marsworth a Reed Warbler was singing and at Startops a Sedge Warbler was singing next to the path.

At College Lake I joined a mini twitch for the 69 Black-tailed Godwits that had dropped in earlier. They were joined after I left by another flock and totalled 102 birds! Also present were 2 Common Sandpiper, LRP and a singing Lesser Whitethroat.

Watford - 26.4.18

While cutting the grass at KGV playing fields my attention was turned by 3 Goosander (2 male) flying overhead towards Hampermill Lake!

Watford - 23.4.18

A singing Whitethroat was a nice surprise at Harwoods Rec this morning. A first for that site from memory.

Watford + PENDULINE TIT!! - 16.4.18

Penduline Tit

The day at work started off nicely with my first Willow Warbler of the year singing at Waterfield Rec but at lunchtime I checked my phone to see a message saying there was a Penduline Tit at Tyttenhanger! My friend Steve Blake had found it but it was a bit elusive. As it was a Monday I finished work at 3pm so I shot straight over there. I parked up and on the walk to the site I added Tree Sparrow, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail to the year list. I arrived to find Steve still there along with Brendon and Terry to be told it'd been showing well until 10 minutes ago but had flown over some trees. Luckily 2 minutes later I saw some movement and there it was feeding on a group of 4 bulrushes. For the next 10 minutes or so it gradually came closer and closer until it was around 15-20 feet away and was showing brilliantly. At times it was heard calling too. Annoyingly when I'd left for work this morning I thought about taking my scope just in case but I didn't pack it so I had to make do with just my binoculars. Because of this the photos above are quite poor as they were taken with my phone hand held through my bins! Nevertheless a 1st for Herts isn't to be sniffed at so thanks again Steve! A singing Lesser Whitethroat was seen on the way back to the car so 6 year ticks today.

Hilfield Reservoir - 15.4.18

I was going to head up to Wilstone for a pair of Black-necked Grebe and some Little Gulls but with a possible Glaucous Gull at Hilfield I decided to pay a visit there instead. I arrived to find Steve Murray and Tony Blake on the dam but the possible Glauc had flown soon after it arrived. The visit wasn't a total loss as there were 6 Little Gulls showing nicely and the same number of Black-necked Grebe. 3 House Martins were also a year tick.

Kings Langley - 12.4.18

Driving home I spotted my first 2 Swallows of the year perched on wires at Wayside Farm.


There I was on the evening of the 7th watching a film with my wife when at about 10.30pm a message popped up on my phone saying an American Bittern had been seen in Suffolk! It turns out one of the volunteer wardens had taken some great shots of what he thought was a Eurasian Bittern at Carlton Marshes NWT near Lowestoft and had posted them on Twitter as such. Alarm bells then began ringing with the first people to see them and sure enough it was an American!

American Bittern. Thanks to Craig Shaw for his photo

Plans were made for a visit the next day with George and Matt and we were on site just after 9am. The hours ticked by and the rain started and stopped and with only a Barn Owl and Marsh Harriers to keep us interested we decided to call it a day at about 12.20pm and headed back on the 15-20 minute walk back to the car. We had just stepped into the car park when the warden came out to tell us that 10 minutes after we'd left it took flight alongside one of our Bitterns and dropped down again! He said he was heading back and did we want a lift! We settled into place again and thankfully 45 minutes later a bird got up. It was the American Bittern! 15 seconds of flight views showing the distinctive upper wing pattern and it dropped down and for those quick off the mark it showed in the field for a few seconds. Happy with that we headed for home with a most unexpected mega on our lists!

At the time of writing its still present and at times giving amazing views feeding in the ditch so I might have to go back for seconds!