Thursday, 31 December 2009

End Of Year Review 2009

Here is my 2009 year list in full. Birds in red capitals are UK lifers and in blue Herts lifers.

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Whooper Swan
  3. Bewick's Swan
  4. Pink-Footed Goose
  5. Eurasian White-Fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Dark-Bellied Brent Goose
  9. Black Brant
  10. Ruddy Shelduck
  11. Shelduck
  12. Egyptian Goose
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-Crested Pochard
  22. Pochard
  23. Tufted Duck
  24. Eider
  25. Common Scoter
  26. Velvet Scoter
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Smew
  29. Goosander
  30. Red-Breasted Merganser
  31. Ruddy Duck
  32. Red-Legged Partridge
  33. Grey Partridge
  34. Pheasant
  35. Red-Throated Diver
  36. Black-Throated Diver
  37. Little Grebe
  38. Great-Crested Grebe
  39. Black-Necked Grebe
  40. Fulmar
  41. Manx Shearwater
  42. Balearic Shearwater
  43. Gannet
  44. Cormorant
  45. Shag
  46. Bittern
  47. Cattle Egret
  48. Little Egret
  49. Grey Heron
  50. Honey Buzzard
  51. Red Kite
  52. Marsh Harrier
  53. Sparrowhawk
  54. Buzzard
  55. Kestrel
  56. Merlin
  57. Hobby
  58. Peregrine Falcon
  59. Water Rail
  60. Moorhen
  61. Coot
  62. Oystercatcher
  63. Avocet
  64. Collared Pratincole
  66. Little-Ringed Plover
  67. Ringed Plover
  68. Dotterel
  69. Golden Plover
  70. Grey Plover
  71. Lapwing
  72. Knot
  73. Sanderling
  74. Little Stint
  75. Temminck's Stint
  76. Curlew Sandpiper
  77. Dunlin
  78. Ruff
  79. Snipe
  80. Woodcock
  81. Black-Tailed Godwit
  82. Bar-Tailed Godwit
  83. Whimbrel
  84. Curlew
  85. Spotted Redshank
  86. Redshank
  87. Greenshank
  88. Green Sandpiper
  89. Common Sandpiper
  90. Turnstone
  91. Pomarine Skua
  92. Arctic Skua
  93. Mediterranean Gull
  94. Little Gull
  95. Black-Headed Gull
  96. Common Gull
  98. Herring Gull
  99. Glaucous Gull
  101. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
  102. Great Black-Backed Gull
  103. Little Tern
  105. Black Tern
  107. White-Winged Black Tern
  108. Sandwich Tern
  109. Common Tern
  110. Arctic Tern
  111. Guillemot
  112. Razorbill
  113. Puffin
  114. Feral Pigeon
  115. Stock Dove
  116. Woodpigeon
  117. Collared Dove
  118. Ring-Necked Parakeet
  119. Cuckoo
  120. Barn Owl
  121. Little Owl
  122. Tawny Owl
  123. Long-Eared Owl
  124. Swift
  125. Kingfisher
  126. Hoopoe
  127. Green Woodpecker
  128. Great-Spotted Woodpecker
  129. Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker
  131. Skylark
  132. Sand Martin
  133. Swallow
  134. House Martin
  135. Tree Pipit
  136. Meadow Pipit
  137. Rock Pipit
  138. Scandinavian Rock Pipit
  139. Water Pipit
  140. Yellow Wagtail
  142. Grey Wagtail
  143. White Wagtail
  144. Pied Wagtail
  145. Wren
  146. Dunnock
  147. Robin
  148. Nightingale
  149. Black Redstart
  150. Redstart
  151. Stonechat
  152. Wheatear
  153. Greenland Wheatear
  154. Blackbird
  155. Fieldfare
  156. Song Thrush
  157. Redwing
  158. Mistle Thrush
  159. Cetti's Warbler
  160. Grasshopper Warbler
  161. Sedge Warbler
  162. Marsh Warbler
  163. Reed Warbler
  164. Blackcap
  165. Garden Warbler
  166. Lesser Whitethroat
  167. Whitethroat
  168. Chiffchaff
  170. Willow Warbler
  171. Goldcrest
  172. Firecrest
  174. Bearded Tit
  175. Log-Tailed Tit
  176. Blue Tit
  177. Great Tit
  178. Coal Tit
  179. Willow Tit
  180. Marsh Tit
  181. Nuthatch
  182. Treecreeper
  184. Jay
  185. Magpie
  186. Jackdaw
  187. Rook
  188. Carrion Crow
  189. Raven
  190. Starling
  191. House Sparrow
  192. Tree Sparrow
  193. Chaffinch
  194. Brambling
  195. Greenfinch
  196. Goldfinch
  197. Siskin
  198. Linnet
  199. Twite
  200. Lesser Redpoll
  201. Crossbill
  202. Bullfinch
  204. Yellowhammer
  205. Reed Bunting
  206. Corn Bunting

Back Garden - 31.12.09

2 Robins, a House Sparrow and the Collared Dove visited the garden today.

Back Garden - 30.12.09

A Woodpigeon joined the Collared Dove on the feeders today along with 3 Blue Tits.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Back Garden - 29.12.09

3 Fieldfares flew over around 10am then an hour later 7 Long-Tailed Tits flew onto the feeders only to be chased away by a Blue Tit. A Collared Dove stuffed its face for 5 mins on the seed provided.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Back Garden - 28.12.09

Presumably the same House Sparrow returned to the feeders and a Grey Wagtail sat on the shed roof for a few seconds before flying off.

Back Garden - 27.12.09

News of a Bittern at Hilfield Reservoir got me going for a few seconds until I remembered i'd got my son for the weekend so i'd have to put it out of my mind! A male House Sparrow on the feeders in the garden was the first of its kind to visit. A few Blue Tits were also seen.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Back Garden - 26.12.09

A Collared Dove on the seed tray feeder was the first of its species to visit the back garden and a couple of Robins had a bit of handbags at 10 paces over who got to feed on the spilt seed!

New Arrival - 25.12.09

Christmas dinner at 8pm, presents opened at 9pm and 30+ Redwings and a Cormorant over Watford Football Club can only mean 1 thing! My future step-daughter gave birth to a baby girl on the 23rd and I spent most of Christmas day looking out of the top floor window of the maternity ward at Watford Hospital waiting for them to be allowed home!

The only other bird of note was a Goldcrest singing in the back garden.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Cassiobury Park - 24.12.09

Well as it's now just into the 25th - HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

Yesterdays highlights were 2 Cormorants flying over the river, 6 Fieldfares over the council yard and 3 Sparrowhawks. 1 (probably the same as the last 2 days) by the river and a pair over the council yard showing off nicely the size difference between the sexes.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Cassiobury Park - 23.12.09

An excellent day in the park started off with 4 Bullfinches near the toilet block and a Sparrowhawk in virtually the same place as yesterday.

I then bumped into a couple i'd met before who bird the park occasionally and they said they were looking for the Kingfisher and some Siskins but had missed both so far. Within 10 seconds of them carrying on their jourey 3 Siskins flew over their heads without them realising then the Kingfisher flew into view by the rustic bridge and started bashing a fish to death!

I then had a quick look at the cress beds next to the fishing lake and found 2 Canada Geese, 6 Teal and 60+ Black-Headed Gulls. Then on the walk back towards the car park a Fox jumped out of nowhere and scared me half to death followed by a Great-Spotted Woodpecker drumming on the very top branch of a tree.

Probably the best birds of the day flew West over the car park. I heard the call of Fieldfare and as I looked up 5 flew over but behind them were 3 Lapwing which without old records to hand I think are pretty rare for the park.

Finally it was noticable that Wrens had become more obvious with at least 12 birds dotted around the park, mainly by the unfrozen river edges and 2 Common Gulls made it onto the list.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Cassiobury Park - 22.12.09

Highlight of the day was a Water Rail obviously forced out of hiding by the snow. A Little Owl started calling at 2.45pm and a Skylark, Fieldfare and Sparrowhawk flew over during the day and a Stock Dove put in an appearance aswell.

On the way home I noted 60+ Redwings eating berries behind the Total garage on St.Albans road near TK Maxx/Homebase.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Cassiobury Park - 21.12.09

The shortest day saw me in the park reducing a large Hawthorn hedge. A Lesser Redpoll flew low over my head just before midday a couple of Ring-Necked Parakeets went over aswell and a Sparrowhawk flew through the council yard being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crows.

Back Garden again - 20.12.09

Blue and Great Tits were the order of the day again with the only different bird being a Herring Gull over.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Back Garden - 19.12.09

A couple of Blue and Great Tits joined about 10 Starlings on the feeders.

Cassiobury Park - 18.12.09

A very snowy day with up to 4 inches in places where it had drifted. Yesterdays heard possible Siskin flock was found along the canal and contained around 40 birds. 12 Moorhens were feeding along the river and around 40+ Redwing were around the park. A Lesser Redpoll flew over the cafe mid afternoon and 2 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits also flew over presumably moved by the snow.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Cassiobury Park - 17.12.09

A singing Mistle Thrush, 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets, a Sparrowhawk and the sound of a possible largish flock of Siskins were in Cassiobury Park.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Around Watford (again!) - 16.12.09

A very cold and frosty start was brightened up by a small flock of 5 Bullfinches at Riverside Rec off of Riverside Road. Later in the snow 20+ Fieldfares flew over KGV Playing Fields with 3 Redwings for company. Then while driving home a newly fledged Feral Pigeon was on the small path underneath the Town Hall roundabout (underpass). It must have been thinking why was I born now and not in the summer!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tits galore!! - 15.12.09

A quick lookof my feeders this morning saw 3+ Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit and at least 1 possibly 2 Coal Tits. A Robin and Dunnock also paid a visit.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Garden Birding - 14.12.09

After a mornings Christmas shopping with only 15 Herring Gulls over Watford High Street as any sort of a birding highlight it wasn't until I got home that and excitement happened. Within 2 minutes of getting through the front door a tit flcok went through the garden briefly stopping off on my feeders. A couple each of Blue and Great Tits were joined by 6 Long-Tailed Tits and a singing Goldcrest.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Lazy Sunday - 13.12.09

A Grey Wagtail in the garden for 30 seconds was a nice surprise this morning. Later a trip to the shops saw a few Mallard on the river infront of Tesco's in Watford along with a few Feral Pigeons and Black-Headed Gulls.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Hilfield Reservoir - 12.12.09

A noon start saw me heading towards Tring Reservoirs but the A41 was shut at the Chesham turn off and the minor roads were chocka block so instead I headed for Hilfield Reservoir. Unfortunately no Mediterranean Gulls were on show in the roost but 3 Goldeneyes (1 male) were my first of the Winter. A Buzzard flew over and put up 16 Lapwings from nearby fields which didn't know which way to fly!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Apologies - 11.12.09

The header on my blog says giving you all my latest sightings no matter how dull they are, but I didn't realise just how dull it could get! The star bird of the day was a Stock Dove in Cassiobury Park! 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 4 Ring-Necked Parakeets were the other sightings!

I hope to get out and about over the weekend so watch this space!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Around Watford - 10.12.09

6 Cormorants flying over KGV playing fields and a Fieldfare this morning, 3 Grey Wagtails in Cassiobury Park and 8 Ring-Necked Parakeets in a tree in Paddock Road allotments, Oxhey this afternoon were the highlights.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Gulls Galore (not quite)! - 9.12.09

First thing there were 130+ Black-Headed Gulls in Cassiobury Park aswell as 3 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets. 7 Herring Gulls flew over Callowland Rec most likely towards the Hilfield Reservoir roost and just as I was about to open the door at home a Sparrowhawk glided over towards Woodside.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

More Redwings - 8.12.09

Lots of small flocks of Redwings around Watford and Oxhey and a Ring-Necked Parakeet heard were the lowlights of today!

Woodpecker Minute - 7.12.09

After a non eventful weekend bird wise it was back to work today and a morning of cleaning leaves from bowling green gutters at Oxhey Grange! Not exciting incase your wondering! A singing Mistle Thrush accompanied my morning cuppa as did 2 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other around a tree followed by a Green Woodpecker in the same tree a minute later! Later 18 Redwings flew over Callowland bowling green.

I forgot to mention a Little Egret in Cassiobury Park this afternoon aswell!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Watford/Oxhey - 4.12.09

If it wasn't for the frost on the floor I could have been mistaken it was Summer! 2 Singing Mistle Thrushes, 1 Singing Song Thrush and a summer plumaged Black-Headed Gull were all seen/heard today! Also seen today were 9 Siskin and 2 Little Owls.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Watford Again - 3.12.09

10 Ring-Necked Parakeets flew over Cassiobury Park first thing plus 8 Fieldfares flew out of a tree near the tennis courts. 18 more Fieldfares flew over Paddock Road Depot in Oxhey in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Slightly less quiet! - 2.12.09

A Song Thrush in song as I got out the car this morning was a nice start followed by a few Redwings and a small tit flock which held at least 1 Nuthatch. A calling RN Parakeet finished the day off.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Around Town - 1.12.09

Well a new month but still the same old birds! 10 Redwings over the yard first thing were followed by a Grey Wagtail flying over the Happy Hour pub near Oxhey. Then this afternoon 4 Ring-Necked Parakeets were seen in a back garden on Wilcot Road also near Oxhey and a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Feral Pigeons near Leavsden Studios on the way home.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Dreadfull! - 30.11.09

The heavy rain this morning put a dampner on things straight away and even when it had brightened up only a handfull of Redwings made the notebook! Hopefull December will be better?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Garston - 29.11.09

A Sparrowhawk flew over the back garden and landed in a nearby Redwood tree to escape the mobbing of Starlings and Collared Doves!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Kent - 28.11.09

A Grey Wagtail flying over the house around 10am was followed by Oystercatchers and Redshanks at Otterham Quay in North Kent this afternoon whilst down there for the future mother in laws birthday!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Watford - 27.11.09

No Cormorants today after yesterdays bumper haul. The only birds of note were? Thats right absolutely nothing!! Very quiet today not even a dull bird to note down!

Late news! - I remembered that I had a Song Thrush singing in the yard in Cassiobury Park this morning!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Watford - 26.11.09

The birding day started at 7.19am when 2 Cormorants flew over the dome roundabout towards London. 5 minutes later 9 more Cormorants flew East over my car by Cassiobury Park. At 8am a Brambling flew over Callowland Rec towards Watford Junction then later at 10.30am 7 more Cormorants flew over towards Croxley Moor! So 18 Cormorants in 1 day is not too bad a count!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 25.11.09

Well only 1 month to Christmas!!

Very few note worthy birds seen today with just the usual fare seen. 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets overhead, a couple of Mistle Thrushes around the yard and a freshly dead Black-Headed Gull brought to me in a bin bag by the parky which was found in the paddling pools!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Oxhey - 24.11.09

A Cormorant over Cassiobury Park this morning was followed by a Ring-Necked Parakeet in trees at the Council depot in Oxhey.

Watford - 23.11.09

Not much to report today apart from rain! A Great-Spotted Woodpecker flew over Leaford Crescent in North Watford.

Slimbridge WWT - 22.11.09

Peregrine and Bewick's Swans.

A coach trip with the Watford RSPB group down to Gloucestershire turned out to be a good trip with 3 new species being seen for 2009. These were 18 Bewick's Swans, around 12 White-Fronted Geese out of a flock of 47 but they were hidden in a dip in the grass so only odd birds were seen at ay one time. The third tick was also the highlight of the day. While sat in the tower hide another birder suddenly said he had a Skua sp but just as he found it his eyes teared up from the wind! Thankfully he re-found it stood in the middle of the estuary on the mud. I was the first person to pick it up and with it occasionally flying and showing off more plumage details after a few minutes along with a few other birders we identified it as a sub-adult Pomarine Skua!

This was only my fourth in the UK. The other 3 being juveniles.

Unfortunately last weeks Pacific Diver was re-found but just up the road so went unseen!

Starlings - 21.11.09

A flock of around 50 Starlings around my house was the only highlight of the day!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Another quiet day - 20.11.09

3 Cormorants flew over my head as I got out of my car this morning in the park then later in the day 5 Ring-Necked Parakeets flew over Paddock Road allotment in Oxhey Village.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Apologies and Watford - 19.11.09

Firstly my apologies for no posts on Tuesday and Wednesday. The main reason for this is that I saw nothing worth reporting as I had ear defenders and a hard hat on all day removing bits of fallen tree!!

Thankfully today was a bit better with some good birds.

The first bird of note was a singing Song Thrush at Callowland Rec followed by a Sparrowhawk that flew over KGV Playing Fields in West Watford. In doing so it put up 15 Pied Wagtails and c.40+ Collared Doves which is a good number around there.

Another Sparrowhawk in Cassiobury Park was soon moved on by 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 16.11.09

First bird of the day was a Mute Swan flying NE over the council yard. Very unusual away from the river. Other sightings were a Lesser Redpoll, 7 Ring-Necked Parakeets, 59 Redwings and 3 Grey Wagtails.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Front Garden! - 15.11.09

A Black-Headed Gull on the green outside along with a Pied Wagtail and some Starlings is as good as it gets today so far!

Back Garden - 14.11.09

A fly over Great-Spotted Woodpecker was the best bird of the day. 17 Jackdaws and 30+ Starlings were also seen.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Grey Day - 13.11.09

It was a grey day all round today what with the crappy weather but also for the 5 Grey Wagtails dotted around Cassiobury Park. Other avian highlights were 6 Siskins, 2 Lesser Redpolls, and a Sparrowhawk over the yard being mobbed by 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets and 11 Goldfinches!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cassiobury MEGA - 12.11.09

Whilst chatting to my boss in the council yard in the park this afternoon I heard a Raven calling so I stopped chatting and looked skywards! Sure enough from behind some trees flying low South appeared 7 Crows just above the tree tops! I thought to myself blimey (being polite!) 7 Ravens but on closer inspection there was 1 Raven being mobbed by 6 Carrion Crows! They suddenly turned West and were lost to view behind more trees. It's most likely the 1st record for Cassiobury Park unless someone else knows otherwise.

The other strange bird today was a Black-Headed Gull in full summer plumage! It was with 40+ Black-heads and a single Common Gull. 2 Lesser Redpolls flew over and a female Grey Wagtail was at the top of the park.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A very quiet day - 11.11.09

A Grey Wagtail trying to snatch food from a Black-Headed Gull at Wiggenhall Road Dump was the only good bird of today!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 10.11.09

A quiet day with few highlights. A Redwing passage was possibly happening but as low cloud and mist was hampering viewing it was just the calls that proved any evidence though 10 were seen around the meadow. A Canada Goose, Cormorant, Lesser Redpoll, Nuthatch, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 4 Fieldfare were also seen.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 9.11.09

2 Little Egrets along the river were todays main highlight with 2 Canada Geese, 14 Long-Tailed Tits, 7 Ring-Necked Parakeets, 3 Teal, Kingfisher, Siskin and 10 Redwing as the also rans.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 8.11.09

The reason for the lazy day on Saturday was a 6.30am start to clear up the rubbish and debris from the fireworks. The main highlight was a flock of 93 Fieldfares that flew South around 9am with 4 more flying North at 11.30ish. 9 Ring-Necked Parakeets, 4 Siskins and 3 Canada Geese were also seen.

Dull Day - 7.11.09

Only 1 bird seen and 2 heard all day as I decided on a lazy day indoors. A Carrion Crow seen from the house and 2 Redwings calling over North Watford was the sum total!!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 6.11.09

While driving to work this morning 27 Woodpigeons flew over the Harry Potter film set in Leavsden followed by 12 over the yard at work but that was it for migrating Woodies for the day. 44 Redwings (including a flock of 37) were seen with 2 Fieldfares. 5 Siskins and 3 Lesser Redpolls were in with a dozen Goldfinches. 3 Goldcrest in with a tit flock in the meadow were joined by a Blackcap. A Canada Goose flew over aswell as a Sparrowhawk. 6 Teal were on the cress beds near the fishing lake. The Mistle Thrush was singing still and a Painted Lady flew over my head in the yard.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 5.11.09

The first 90 minutes of the day were hectic in terms of birds and migration but at 8.50am it all went quiet. As soon as I stepped out of my car 2 Skylarks flew over followed by 14 Ring-Necked Parakeets and a few Redwing but at 7.50am as I started work in the park I noticed that Woodpigeons were on the move. Amazingly just 1 hour later they had stopped but in that hour I counted 707 birds flying S/SW with a few of the resident/local birds around.

Also noted were 22 Redwings, 2 Meadow Pipits, the 2 Pied Wagtails were still arouns the paddling pools with a female Grey for comapny, 30 Goldfinch with 4 Siskin and 2 Lesser Redpolls, 64 Black-Headed Gulls, a Kingfisher by the Rustic Bridge, what appeared to be an adult Carrion Crow feeding a begging/wing-fluttering youngster and the Mistle Thrush was still singing briefly around the mini railway.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 4.11.09

Highlight of the day was a Swallow that caught my attention by calling as it flew South along the canal. It's most likely the latest date for the park and possibly for me in the county without records to hand.

Here is a list of other birds seen in the park today. 47 Jackdaws, 9 Siskins, 6 Ring-Necked Parakeets, 2 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Pied and 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 more Skylarks, a Fieldfare, 42 Mallard (on the canal and river), a calling Bullfinch in the meadow, a Cormorant heading South and a singing Mistle Thrush around the mini railway.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 3.11.09

A much quieter day mainly due to the crappy weather with just 1 Lesser Redpoll and 3 Siskins being of any note. At least 4+ Jays were dotted around the park and a Green Woodpecker flew up from just a few feet away.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Cassiobury Park - 2.11.09

After hearing that the regular Parky had fallen off his bike on the way home on Friday I was again in the park today and most likely for the rest of this week. Todays highlight were the 5 Skylarks that flew over between 8-9am. Not very exciting I hear you say but from memory the previous the highest day count was 3 birds so 5 was amazing!

Other good counts were 18 Magpies by the Rustic bridge, 86 Jackdaws flying West over the park before disapearing into Whippendell Woods. 2 Grey Wagtails with their Pied cousins along the river and in the paddling pools and 8 Siskins and 9 Lesser Redpolls made it quite a good day.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Abbots Langley - 31.10.09

An early Haloween kick about with my boy at Abbots Langley Cricket Club saw a dozen Redwings and a single Meadow Pipit fly over and very muddy trainers!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Home and Cassiobury Park - 30.10.09

12 Redwings over the house at 7.10am and a Grey Wagtail in the council yard at lunchtime were the only good birds of the day.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Cassiobury Park - 29.10.09

Most of the day cutting back the Willow bank on the river saw 3+ Siskins overhead along with a Great-Spotted Woodpecker, a few Jays and the usual Ring-Necked Parakeets.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cassiobury Area - 28.10.09

Not much to tell you about apart from another fly over Siskin, Great-Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Jays. A Peacock butterfly was the most unusaul flying thing today making the most of the warm weather.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Birding around Watford - 27.10.09

A mixture of sites today threw up some half decent birds. At Vicarage Road cemetary a Coal Tit just above my head was nice along with a fly over Skylark, 20 Goldfinch and a Mistle Thrush.

At the depot in Oxhey 8 Geese sp flew South though a tad to far away to properly identify. Also seen were 15 Greenfinch and 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets.

And finally a Grey Heron being mobbed by 5 LBB Gulls over Homebase.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Watford/Oxhey - 26.10.09

Todays interesting sightings included a Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and Redwing over Oxhey village and another Grey Wagtail and a Siskin in Cassiobury Park.

The only bird of note yesterday (25th) was a male Kestrel over the council dump in Garston.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

MEGA! - 24.10.09

2 photos of the twitch. Getting a shot of the bird was a bit beyond my camera skills!!

Unfortunately not in Herts but 260 miles away in Co.Durham. I went to bed at 10.30pm on Friday and woke up at 2am Saturday morning picked up Brendan Glynn from just down the road and drove for just over 4 hours in showery rain (made worse by a noisy wiper!). We arrived at Trow Quarry near South Shields just as dawn was breaking and thankfully it remained virtually dry during our visit.

We joined 3-400 other birders in an anxious wait to see if the bird had stayed overnight. Thankfully at around 8.30 it was refound and on and off for the next hour we all watched the UK's first EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER as it flitted around the few trees and bushes occasionaly chased around by a Yellow-Browed Warbler. We left happy but had a quick seawatch and noted a Redshank flying North, 5 Turnstones and a Red-Throated Diver close in shore.

On the journey back we hit the main lot of rain which had been predicted in Durham earlier but thankfully was late. The rain was so hard the noisy wiper was on full a couple of times. I was just too knackered to go for a Red-Flanked Bluetail at Bempton and I sat down back at home with a cuppa at 4pm after 11 hours and 560 miles!

But worth it.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Cassiobury Park - 23.10.09

Another day in the park saw a few good birds. A group of 6 Lesser Redpolls flew over near Cha Cha cafe mid morning aswell as 3 Siskins dotted around. 3 Cormorants also flew low over the paddling pools possibly even thinking about landing! 3 Grey Wagtails and 5 Ring-Necked Parakeets were noted aswell.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Watford High Street - 22.10.09

I spent the morning helping cleaning out the pond at the top of the high street. A mucky job was interspersed with a Grey Wagtail flitting around the rooftops, 18 Mallards and 4 Moorhens on the pond and 3 Skylarks and a Meadow Pipit flying over.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Watford - 21.10.09

It was a day of Grey Wagtails as 1 flew over Watford Fields, 1 over Oxhey Village and 3 over Langley Way towards Cassiobury Park with a 4th landing on the roof of Martin's convenience store. Also a Siskin over towards the park.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cassiobury Park - 20.10.09

A day in the park had a few highlights. A Brambling flew out over my head from the Meadow area which also held a Lesser Redpoll in with a small flock of Goldfinch and Siskin. A flock of 20 RN Parakeets was the biggest i'd seen in Herts. 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Grey Herons, 3 Grey Wagtails a fly over Cormorant, 37 Redwings, 24 Meadow Pipits and a pair of Teal on the cress beds were also seen.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Cassiobury Park - 19.10.09

3 Redwings over at first light and 7 Ring-Necked Parakeets were the only noticable sightings. But a report of 100 Parakeets was relayed to me by my work colleague seen last Thrursday.

Hilfield Reservoir - 18.10.09

A couple of hours this morning saw a Siskin fly over the car park and 4 Lesser Redpolls both the first of the Autumn period. Probably the strangest site was of 10 Song Thrushes all flying out of 1 small bush in the NE corner! Also of note were a Muntjac, Small Copper and an Emporer Dragonfly.

Friday, 16 October 2009

400 up!!

After finding out that the Hooded Merganser I saw at Chilham in Kent in December 2005 has been accepted to catergory A of the British list (nice armchair tick) the Surrey Brown Shrike becomes my 400th BOU tick!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Back Garden - 15.10.09

A wagtail double today as both Pied and Grey where heard in or around the back garden this morning.

Watford - 14.10.09

Nothing much to shout about today with just a Sparrowhawk over the Dome roundabout heading towards Garston, 4+ Jays on the green outside my house screeching away at each other and a RN Parakeet heard flying past my living room window!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hilfield Reservoir - 13.10.09

An arty-farty photo taken this morning!!

An early morning stroll around the reservoir was quite productive with 133 Redwings and 7 Fieldfares flying overhead with a Snipe flushed from just left of the hide, a male Blackcap and 5 Swallows giving a slight summery feel to the chilly morning. A couple of Reed Buntings and a Bullfinch were also seen.

Staines Moor - 12.10.09

The same photo of the 1st Winter Brown Shrike just zoomed up a little and a sunset over the moor!

Well where do I start. A Red-Backed Shrike at Staines Moor in Surrey came onto my pager and as I'm off for the week I was tempted to go and see it but other things cropped up and I couldn't get down. I then had to go food shopping at Asda and as I don't get any signal on my pager I decided to leave it in the car. When I got in the car I realised I get no signal in there either! It was only when I got home and had started cooking dinner that I got the message - Surrey repeat: BROWN SHRIKE still Staines Moor! It wasn't a Red-Backed and i'd missed the MEGA alert. I started my dinner but didn't finish it as it was late and I had the M25 to drive at rush hour.

5.45pm and I was on site and managed 1 photo before it flew to another bush. As I was going round to get another look I suddenly realised i'd dropped my camera somewhere! As everyone else was watching the bird I was looking for my camera! Thankfully Joan Thompson had picked it up. Phew!

Then to add insult to injury I got back to my car and shut my keys in the boot! Thankfully I had unlocked it first and got in via the back seat. What a nightmare!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Appleford - 10.10.09

Just one of the Red Kites in and around the field and 5 photos of the Azorean Gull showing different bits of plumage and the dark head and strange bill.

The journey home took at while longer than usual as I took a detour to the village of Appleford in Oxfordshire in the hopes of adding another lifer to the list. Once I found somewhere to park and once the slowest level crossing in the world had lifted I ran to a small pool next to the local tip and almost immediately got onto the bird. There infront of me was an adult AZOREAN YELLOW-LEGGED GULL. Its dark heavily flecked head, strange shaped and coloured bill and pale eye giving it a quite evil look about it. But just as I was about to get a photo of it it took off and flew to a nearby field. 5 minutes later and I was watching it again from a footpath next to the field. It was with large flock of other gulls but was quite easily picked out while it preened. I managed a few photos but as usual with ditance and heat haze they aren't great!

Bradworthy - 9.10.09

The last day was spent doing a mixture of relaxing and packing. But I still managed to do 15 minutes birding in the garden viewed from the back door. The highlight of the day and the week was a cracking Firecrest that appeared in the Elder tree but unfortunately it soon moved on. The Marsh Tit popped back again but was equally as brief.

Clovelly - 8.10.09

The afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine at the village of Clovelly. The steep cobbled street was a bit tough on the knees but the views were well worth it. After seeing the village we walked the Hobby walk for 1.5 miles to the viewpoint to look over the village quay and beach. The following was seen along the walk.

4 Ravens, 4 Buzzards including a very white pale morph which got the pulses racing for a second! A female Kestrel and a female Bullfinch.

Bude - 7.10.09

An hour in Bude saw 23 Swallows coming in off the sea, 2 Curlews overhead and 2 Rock Pipits on the beach. Later that night a couple of Tawny Owls started calling from the garden.

Fremington Quay + Isley Marsh - 6.10.09

Long-Tailed Tit along the Tarka Trail.

Another scan of the garden added Goldcrest, Treecreeper and a Marsh Tit before we went shopping in Barnstaple. After shopping we went to Fremington to walk along the Tarka Trail to Isley Marsh in the hope of seeing the 3 Spoonbills that frequented the area. Unfortunately it was low tide when we arrived and they weren't there! 10 Little Egrets were though along with a fly-by Kingfisher and a screeching Water Rail.

Hartland Point - 5.10.09

A day trip up to Hartland Point was very nice and even quite hot with the sunny weather. Unfortunately I didn't find the Indigo Bunting i'd dreamt about but lots of Meadow Pipits and a Stonechat were seen as were a few Gannets between the point and Lundy Island. A Shag on the rocks below was a year tick. 4 Bullfinches flushed on the way home down the narrow lanes were nice.

Bradworthy + Tamar Lakes - 4.10.09

A quick walk around the garden of the cottage we were staying in saw a Nuthatch and 3 Meadow Pipits aswell as plentyof corvids.

Later that day we popped to Tamar Lakes and wandered around both the upper and lower lakes.

Highlights were a Raven, Buzzard 2 male Stonechats and a flockof 10+ Skylarks. On the upper lake only 4 ducks were noted 3 Mallard and 1 Teal with just Mallard on the lower lake.

On Hols - 3.10.09

Here is a catch up of the birds I saw last week while in Devon on my holiday.

3 Red Kites and a Buzzard along the M4 and M5 were followed by a male Grey Wagtail and a group of 5 Linnets in Bude (food shopping!)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cassiobury Park - 1.10.09

2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Meadow Pipits, 8+ RN Parakeets flying around and 3 Chiffchaffs including 1 in full song still!

BREAKING NEWS!! Just had my first Redwing of the year fly over the house calling.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Watford - 30.9.09

Another day of removing bedding plants around Watford but nothing more exciting than a Great-Spotted Woodpecker and 2-300+ Starlings!

Later at Hilfiled Reservoir 15 Meadow Pipits over.

Caterpillar identified

Thanks to Steve Blake its a Knot Weed Moth caterpillar.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Caterpillar ID required.

This Caterpillar was found on the dam at Hilfield last week on a Plantain weed. I've no idea of what it is so can anyone help me please?

Its about an inch long and the head is on the right!

Watford - 29.9.09

A couple of hours in Watford Town centre at St.Mary's church pulling out the old bedding plants produced quitea good list for the location. A Coal Tit in with Blue and Great Tits, 2 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Cassiobury Park - 28.9.09

First bird of the day was a Mallard flying West over the yard at 7.35am. Unusual that far away from the river. Some fly over RN Parakeets and a couple of Meadow Pipits were also noted.

Buuterfly World - 27.9.09

Just some of the exotics at Butterfly World.

Went to the new attraction in Chiswell Green today and immediately found a Clouded Yellow butterfly! My first this year. A few Painted Ladies and a Peacock were noted and as for the birds a mixed flock (40+) of Goldfinches and Linnets were feeding on the seed heads. A couple of Meadow Pipits overhead and 1 Grey Heron and 2 Buzzards were the other avian highlights. And lastly another Clouded Yellow.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Around Watford - 24.9.09

Marking out footy pitches around Watford saw the following recorded.

Cassiobury Park held 3 House Martins, 6 Meadow Pipits heading South 10+ RN Parakeets and a Kingfisher.

KGV Playing Fields had 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 RN Parakeets and a singing Chiffchaff.

Oxhey Park had a single Chiffchaff.

And Callowland Rec had 2 more Chiffchaffs one of which was also singing.

Oxhey Grange - 23.9.09

Just a Swallow and a Meadow Pipit today!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Oxhey Grange - 22.9.09

A day spent hedge cutting at Oxhey Grange bowls club behind Watford Heath the following was seen. 5 RN Parakeets, Meadow Pipit over, Goldcrest and Nuthatch heard and a Sparrowhawk mobbed by a Magpie.

Whilst yesterday in Cassiobury Park another Sparrowhawk this time mobbed by a Carrion Crow over the footy pitches and a Great-Spotted Woodpecker in the council yard.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Wilstone Res - 20.9.09

2 of the 11 Little Egrets, Peacock Butterfly, Meadow Pipit, Male Yellow Wagtail, Pintail and the 2 Spotshanks.

3 hours at the reservoir from 10am-1pm with the Watford RSPB group was pretty sucessful the highlights as follows.

2 Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, 11 Little Egrets, 4 Red Kites, 16 Yellow Wagtails, 2 White Wagtails (year tick), 4 Snipe, Pintail, 4+ Chiffchaffs, 3 Sand Martin, Hobby and a juv Ringed Plover.

Friday, 18 September 2009

West Watford - 18.9.09

13 Pied Wagtails and 150+ Starlings at KGV Playing Fields this morning were followed by more RN Parakeets and 3 Mistle Thrushes in Cassiobury Park.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Cassiobury Park - 17.9.09

40+ House Martins over the tennis courts at 7.20am soon left and 3 RN Parakeets over the council yard shortly after was the limit of the excitement today!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Watford - 16.9.09

The highlight today was a Hobby that flew over Callowland Rec at 2.45pm. Also 3 RN Parakeets over Oxhey Village.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

100th Post! Cassiobury Park - 15.9.09

11 Mistle Thrushes in with Starlings and a single Blackbird on the footy pitches and 3 Swallows early afternoon brought down by the rain. Not very exciting for my 100th post on this blog!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Cassiobury Park + Back Garden - 14.9.09

6 RN Parakeets wheeling around over the bowls club, 5+ Jays and a fly over Mistle Thrush.

Update - Just added a new garden tick getting the washing in with a Meadow Pipit flying over the garden along with 3 Goldfinches and 25+ Starlings and a Goldcrest in next doors garden.

Cassiobury Park - 13.9.09

12+ RN Parakeets around the toilet block, a fly over Meadow Pipit and a Grey Wagtail by the waterfall were the highlights of 12 hours in the park (working)!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Mundens Magic - 12.9.09

2 RAF planes overhead, 2 photos of the Redstart. Bit blurry as they were digi-binned using my girlfriends head as a rest!!

My first visit to my old local patch in nearly 2 years was very much worth it with the discovery of a fem/juv Redstart. It was frequenting a hedge just left of the 2nd cattle grid along the main path just before the path becomes private and you have to turn right towards Aldenham. Looking at my old records for the estate its only the 2nd record with the last being a male reported to me in May 1990!

Other highlights were a female Shoveler on the small pool by the pumping station. Again Looking back at the records it becomes only the 8th record following a male from Jan 95- Mar 96, 3 male and a female in Nov 2001 and a pair in Jun 2001.

16 Teal on the same pool, 5 Chiffchaffs and a female Kestrel around the pumping station and at least 12 RN Parakeets ,10 of which were around where the Redstart was. It was trying to show my girlfriend these that I found the Redstart.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Another Singing Chiffy - 11.9.09

Whilst preparing a cricket wicket at KGV Playing Fileds in West Watford I heard my 2nd singing Chiffchaff in 2 days. It was singing from adjacent gardens. 6 RN Parakeets flew over and that was about it!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Pipit Passage

Today whilst visiting numerous parks in Watford marking the white lines on the footy pitches I noted the following.

Cassiobury Park - 11 Meadow Pipits all fly overs.
21 House Martins
8 RN Parakeets
2 Chiffchaffs including 1 in full song at 7.40am!!

KGV Playing Fields - 5 Meadow Pipits all fly overs

Oxhey Park - 2 Chiffchaff
1 Kingfisher

Croxley Moor - 6+ Meadow Pipit on the deck and fly overs
1 Kingfisher

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Hilfield Res - 9.9.09

The Wheatear today.

50 minutes birding after work saw the following. Wheatear, Reed Warbler and a Meadow Pipit.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Work Birding - 8.9.09

Whilst out working today I had 2 Sparrowhawks over Ridge Lane, Watford and single RN Parakeets over Cassiobury Park, Ridge Lane and Oxhey Village. Other than that it's very quiet.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Kent 4-6.9.09

1 of loads of Grey Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, Red Admiral Butterfly and a Cormorant.

Headed back down to the future in-laws on friday afternoon with the hope of making a visit to Dungeness at some point. But unfortunately I never made it due to the fact I couldn't be arsed to get out of bed early enough!! I had to make do with a few hours at nearby Riverside CP which in the end didn't really produce anything of note, the highlight being a Hobby putting up the waders on the Medway.

Worse was still to come as I checked my pager once I was back at the future mother-in-laws house and saw that an Alpine Swift was at Aldenham Reservoir which is less than 10 minutes from home! I recieved a frantic call from Joan Thompson telling me to get down there but I replied i'm in Kent!

Thankfully it's already on my Herts list with a flyover bird I self-found at my old local patch of the Mundens Estate on 7th May 1992, which is probably around a mile from Aldenham Res as the crow flies. Unfortunately it wasn't accepted by the rarity panel but I know what I saw!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Terntastic!! - 3.9.09

White-Winged Black Tern + Black Tern

American Black Tern

American Black Tern

Black Tern
White-Winged Black Tern

White-Winged Black Tern in flight

The day before my Norfolk break a juvenile Black Tern appeared at Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire, nothing amazing there I hear you say but it was then reported as possibly being a bird of the American race. A short while later it was confirmed that it was indeed an AMERICAN BLACK TERN only the 3rd for GB. What was more amazing was that it was present with a juv White-Winged Black Tern and a juv Black Tern! Unfortunately I had no time to get there before dark and was off to Norfolk in the morning. The chances of it staying were remote so I resigned myself to dipping them.

Some how though they were all still present on Thursday morning and so I decided to go for them.

On arrival it was clear that it was a tad windy (near gale force!) and as usual they were at the far end of the causeway and the far side of the reservoir! However I walked up and sat on the slope of the reservoir and was rewarded with amazing once in a lifetime views of 3 species of black tern in 1 scope view! I somehow managed to get some photos of the birds though with the wind and distance they aren't exactly amazing!

Also present with them was a juv Arctic Tern and when walking back to the car I looked overhead for a migrating Osprey but to no avail. That flew over about 2 hours after i'd left! And the journey there and back was enlightened by numerous Red Kites.
News this morning is that all 3 terns have finally left so I was very jammy indeed.

This was my 4th lifer in 4 visits to Farmoor the others being Franklin's Gull, Sabine's Gull and Buff-Bellied Pipit. Any of those in Herts would be nice!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Norfolk Break - 29.8 - 1.9.09

Gulls on Yarmouth beach, Woodpigeon and Linnet at Winterton, storm clouds over Hemsby and a Herring Gull at Caister.

An early morning start was brightened up with a garden tick in the form of a Ring-Necked Parakeet (heard) at 7am. Then c.3 hours later we'd arrived in Norfolk and immediately over the caravan we were staying in in Hemsby were 10+ Swallows and half a dozen Swifts.

Sunday arrived and being my birthday I decided to relax and do a bit of birding. While sitting on the steps of the caravan my first Tree Pipit of the year flew South then West inland calling as it went. This was followed later by a Sparrowhawk hunting the local Starlings.

An early evening visit to Winterton Dunes provided 2 more year ticks. 4 dark morph Arctic Skuas offshore harrassing the terns and 1+ Crossbill that flew South along the dunes and then evaded me in the dunes themselves. Also noted were 1 Swift, an adult Great Black-Backed Gull on the beach, a manky looking Yellowhammer, 2 Wheatears , a few Gannets at sea and a Grey Seal a few feet offshore.

On Monday a beach cricket game at Caister-on-Sea with my son saw 2 Ringed Plovers interrupt the game briefly as they flew South! While later in the day a wander around Horsey Gap saw 1+ Stonechat, 3 Kestrels and 4 Whitethroats.

Tuesday morning and another visit to Winterton Dunes unfortunately didn't produce any hoped for Spotted/Pied Flycatchers or Whinchats but a Lesser Whitethroat did show very well in the brambles until a dog walker flushed it just as I was trying to photograph it with my new digital camera. A birthday present to myself!

Finally 7 adult winter Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach in Great Yarmouth, again nearly photographed until 2 kids flushed them! Another Ringed Plover over the swimming pool and a Swift over.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

West Watford and HPR - 27.8.09

3 Photos of the Wheatear at Hilfield Reservoir.

3 RN Parakeets over KGV Playing Fields along with 16 Pied Wagtails a calling Chiffchaff and 2 Swallows. At Cassiobury Park 5 RN Parakeets flew over.

At Hilfield Reservoir a fem/juv Wheatear was on the dam with a Common Sandpiper and 4 Sand Martins flew South.