An afternoon of cutting back the grass along the cycle path saw and heard an array of warblers including my first Garden Warbler of the year singing away near the play area. Other notable birds were a Lesser Whitethroat, 3+ Whitethroats, Chiffchaff, a flyover Grey Wagtail and 5 Swifts.
The first House Martins turned up this morning with 2 birds flying above the trees near the fishing lake and this afternoon I heard a Swift overhead which was also the first record this year. A Holly Blue butterfly was in the council yard just after lunch.
Only 8 months to xmas!! News of some more year ticks saw me going back up to Tring but in the end with mixed results. 2 Black Terns were the highlight but the Sandwich Tern was a brief fly through and had gone before i'd arrived. The other bird I wanted to see was a Wood Warbler but had also gone quiet and wasn't seen. Annoyingly it was reported singing again at 6.30pm!
But to make up for these dips 10+ Swift, 2 Hobby and a lovely male Yellowhammer were new year additions.
Had a walk around the estate just after lunch in the hope of some migrants but only the usual suspects were seen. A calling Lesser Whitethroat was near the M1 footbridge and a Whitethroat was in the hedge that held the Redstart last year. Ring-Necked Parakeets were heard but not seen and a Lapwing was sat in a field possibly sat on a nest.
Record shot of the Cuckoo. Usual excuses such as distance, heat haze and crappy photographer!!And the male Whinchat at Croxley Moor.
I popped to Tring and saw the following. Reed and Sedge Warblers were at Marsworth Res along with 2 singing Cetti's Warblers. At Startops End Res there were 7 Common Terns, 6 Swallows and 2 Buzzards. A Red Kite flew over Tringford Res and then finally at Wilstone Res 2 more yearticks were added with 4 Common Sandpipers feeding on the barley straw bunds and a Cuckoo near rushy meadow. Another Cetti's was singing along with 2 Whitethroats and the final bird of the day was a Wheatear sat on top of a fencepost along the track from cemetary corner.
Just after i'd finished typing this up and packed mycomputer away I received a phone call from JoanThompson to say there was a male Whinchat on Croxley Moor. Thankfully the traffic was good and within 20 minutes I was watching this little beauty as it flew around catching insects. 2 more Common Terns flew over and Whitethroats were singing aswell.
The air ambulance this afternoon with 3 of my colleagues going for a closer look!
A lovely male Sparrowhawk catching the sun as it flew over the meadow was a nice sight to see but the main highlight of flying things wasn't a bird but the Herts air ambulance that landed in the park around 2pm!!
A quick walk round with my son Tom mainly looking for Lesser Whitethroat was sucessful within 3 minutes of arrival with a singing male. The best bird though was just as we were walking back to the car when a female Wheatear flew up from infront of us. Another year tick. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were also singing but no Whitethroats were seen or heard.
Rubbish photos of the Ringed Plover, Willow Warbler, White Wagtail, Lapwing and Shelduck at Amwell NR!!
Making the most of the good weather I went to Amwell NR in the hope of some year ticks. Thankfully at least 2 were forth coming with 3+ Willow Warblers singing away and 2 HouseMartins that flew over the viewpoint. Other goodies were a Little Egret, 5 Goldeneyes, 4+ Chiffchaffs, Ringed Plover, Shelduck, at least 3 Buzzards and a couple of singing Cetti's Warblers.
After a quick bite to eat I went to Rye Meads RSPB reserve for the first time in ages. A LittleEgret was on view from the Lapwing hide and my first Sedge Warbler was scratchily singing.
Another day in vicarage Road cemetary but with the better weather it was a morning of raptors. Firstly a Sparrowhawk flew over mobbed by a Carrion Crow then later a Buzzard flew over also being mobbed but by Lesser Black-Backed and Herring Gulls. Yesterdays Redwing was still present.
After work I popped into Hilfield Reservoir but was rewarded with only a Little-Ringed Plover (same bird as last week?), a Grey Wagtail, another Buzzard and 8 Swallows.
A day cutting the sports areas was interspersed with 3 Pied Wagtails on the tennis courts, a possible but distant Swallow over the cricket square and my first Peacock butterfly of the year in the afternoon.
After staying the night in Gorleston-on-Sea and then popping in for a cuppa at my dads house we left and headed for home with a planned hour or so in Southwold. But as we were passing Lowestoft I thought it'd be rude not to pop to Ness Point where after a quick wait I managed to pick out 6 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks along with 12+ Turnstone. 2 other birders joined me and told me they had just had a Slavonian Grebe in Lowestoft Harbour so I had a quick look and was surprised to see it was nearly in summer plumage. Unfortunately i'd left my camera in the car for the sandpipers and so got a pic on my camera phone and the grebe wouldn't stop diving for long enough to get a pic!
A Little Egret was seen on Town Marshes in Southwold.
The site of the Pallid Swift and the record shot of the White Wagtail.
I finally managed a trip up to Suffolk today. I dropped my boy off with his mum and went home packed up a few things and was on my way just after 11am. nearly 3 hours later and i'd arrived at Kessingland just South of Lowestoft. I parked up and walked down Marsh Lane past the sewage works and down to the private fishing lakes. Thankfully within a few minutes the PALLID SWIFT flew into view and I managed to watch it in my scope for nearly 15 minutes. Unfortunately being a swift there was no way I could manage to get a photo of it! Before getting back to the car I had a quick look over the sewage works and managed to pick out 2 WhiteWagtails amongst the Pied's. I tried to get a picture of them but they were constantly moving to avoid the arms that were spraying water so I just got a crappy record shot!! 2 Chiffchaffs were singing along the road and 2 Meadow Pipit's and a male Reed Bunting were also on the sewage beds.
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.