The Yellow Wagtail, Ruddy Shelduck, a Shoveler at Wilstone, Oystercatcher, Red-Crested Pochard and the LRP.
I'd booked the day off in preperation of visiting Suffolk for the Lesser Kestrel, Pallid Swift and Alpine Swifts but when news late afternoon on the Monday was negative of the first 2 I decided not to go and go to work instead. Tuesday morning and my alarm went off at 6.15am and I thought sod it im not going to work today! 8.30am the LK was still there but had gone by 9am so I went to Hilfield Reservoir instead and added 3 year ticks in doing so. A Little-Ringed Plover was on the dam and Sand Martins and Swallows were evident in small numbers. 8 singing Chiffchaffs were dotted around the reservoir.
I then went to Tring Reservoirs where a Buzzard flew over the A41 near Chesham and a RedKite was over the leisure centre on Cow Lane. Startops End was the first port of call. The male Red-Crested Pochard was still there with a Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaffs singing. On Marsworth 2 Cetti's Warblers were singing from the reed bed.
Wilstone held a few hirundines and another Cetti's Warbler was heard from the hide. A Red Kite and a Buzzard flew over and an Oystercatcher was forced down by the heavy rain showers. Another Red Kite was over the sewage wworks on the way home .
Another Buzzard was circling over junction 21a of the M25.
The final stop was to the puddle at Willow's Farm near Tyttenhanger. For such a small body of water there was an amazing selection of birds around it with a cracking male Yellow Wagtail being the highlight. Also present was the Ruddy Shelduck, 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshank, 2 Lapwing and a probable White Wagtail!
The best bird of the day was a low flying Red Kite that flew North over Callowland Rec. Also present was a singing Chiffchaff. Another singing Chiffchaff was at Oxhey Park. My first Blackcap of the year was singing at KGV playing fields along with another Chiffchaff. Finally a Kingfisher and a group of 11 Magpies were in Cassiobury Park.
A good day in the park today with a pair of Mandarin Ducks flying over the meadow at 8.30am heading North. My first Herts Chiffchaffs were singing away and the Little Egret was by the rustic bridge. A Brimstone was at the East end of the park in the afternoon making the most of the sunshine and finally the male Kestrel was around the mini railway showing very well.
2 of the 14 Med Gulls, the showy Bittern and the GND.
An own car trip to the Solent with the Watford RSPB group provided a few good avian highlights but unfortunately not a lot of year ticks or Spring migrants as hoped for. The first good bird of the day was a Great-Northern Diver fishing for crabs just offshore. This was followed by my first Chiffchaff of the year singing away and then cracking views of a Bittern were had from the meadow hide. At leat 14 Mediterranean Gulls were around the reserve 13 of them summer adults and 1 1st summer. A muddy walk towards Meon was undertaken as 7 Water Pipits had been reported in horse paddocks by the canal. Unfortunately for the rest of the group I was the only person to see them with 4 birds still present, as 2 had walked past them and the others arrived just after they had flown to a nearby field!
I finally pulled my finger out and went over to East Hyde near Harpenden to try to see the JackSnipes that had been present on a small channel for many weeks. I tried just after noon with no luck so carried on to the Herts bird club conference at Rothampstead research centre. Once that had finished I went back just before dusk and after a 5 minute wait I finally picked out a single Jack Snipe bobbing around feeding. Everytime I had another look another bird appeared until there were 3 next to each other all bobbing. Quite comical!
Also present were a Little Egret , 2 Little Grebes, a few Gadwall and a hybrid goose.
I spent a couple of hours walking around the reservoir this morning and saw the following. A male Bullfinch and Greenfinch were seen in the hand and 3 Buzzards were soaring over neighbouring fields. Skylarks were singing and a male Siskin was seen briefly.
A fairly quiet day today with the Kingfisher by the rustic bridge and 2 Bullfinches in the meadow being of any note. 8 Ring-Necked Parakeet flew over and Mute Swans were obvious with 2 adults on the river which were joined by an incoming 1st winter which they soon saw off. Another adult was on the canal with 2 Canada Geese. Even with a cold wind a Carrion Crow flew over with a stick in it's mouth and a Bumblebee was seen.
Spent most of the day pruning at KGV Playing Fields in West Watford but apart from a couple of Redwings and some Common and Black-Headed Gulls it was pretty quiet.
After work I paid my first visit to Hilfield Reservoir of the year and saw a couple of year ticks those being Black-Necked Grebe and Goosander. A Buzzard also flew over continuing the good run of that species.
An earlyish start taking my son to football practise at Evergreen FC in Abbots Langley saw 40+ Redwings and 2 Fieldfares on the pitches and 2 Sparrowhawks were seen including 1 male that flew over at head height to try to grab one of the thrushes.
An hour in Hemel Hempstead shopping was brightened up by a Red Kite flying low over the water gardens then over the high street. Also seen were 87 Canada Geese along the water gardens aswell as 1 Muscovy Duck and 2 Grey Wagtails.
The final good birds were 2 Ravens flying NE over Kings Langley occasionaly soaring on thermals.
After lunch I went to finish off marking out the bottom 2 football pitches when Martin Parr was walking back to his car. He told me the Little Egret was still on the river and the male Kestrel was still around the toilet block. Whilst looking for the Little Owl (which we didn't see) a Buzzard flew over and joined another Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk circling over the East end of the park.
A much quieter day than yesterday with just another/same adult Cormorant flying over the council yard in Cassiobury Park and whilst working on clearing a roundabout at the end of Rickmansworth Road a Comma flew in to sun itself.
An excellent day in the park was had with not 1 but 2 good raptors seen. The first good bird of the day was a Skylark that flew North. A Pair of Ring-Necked Parakeets were in the meadow and at least 20 Redwings were still around. An adult Cormorant flew South shortly afterwards with a Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher flying along the canal. A Lesser Redpoll flew over the council yard and there were 8 Canada Gesse dotted around. 2 were on the canal and 2 flew over them with 4 on the cress beds next to the fishing lake. The Little Owl was showing well sitting in the sun in it's favoured tree and the sun even brought out a Red Admiral. The 2 good raptors were a Buzzard which flew over towards Whippendell Woods (first record in nearly 4 years) and a male Kestrel which I accidentaly flushed when going to lock the toilets.
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.