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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 LesserRedpolls 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 wereon the cress beds near the fishing lake. The Mistle Thrush was singing still and a Painted Lady flew over my head in the yard.
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-NeckedParakeets 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 LesserRedpolls, 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.
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-NeckedParakeets, 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.
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.
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.
Born and bred in Watford,Herts, I started birding when I was just 8 years old because the old next door neighbours garden was very overgrown and attracted birds to his and our gardens! I first went to the Watford RSPB group at 15 and then I joined the Herts Bird Club in the same year. I was on the Herts Bird Club committee for 3 years. I started twitching in September 2001 after i'd bought my RBA pager and within a week of owning it i'd added Red-Necked Stint and American Green Heron! I keep 2 main lists which can be seen above.