Went into North Watford to get a haircut but the 2 barbers I use were both shut but I did see distantly a flock of around 50-60 birds near where a flock of Waxwings was reported at Bruce Grove/St.Albans Road junction. Had a quck drive by but saw nothing. Later I went to Tyttenhanger but on arrival the fog was so thick I gave up and turned around! The highlight of the day was a Sheep wandering down Coursers Road not knowing where to go and with 5 cars behind it!!
A visit to town for some extra food included a walk past the pond at the top of town. On the only ice free part on the pond there was an incredible 63 Mallards. This is 3 times as many as usual and they are probably there for the bread and assorted crap that people throw in there!!
During work today I spotted around 5 Waxwings in St.Johns road around 10am then just before noon around 40 flew SE over St.Alban's road by the Vauxhall garage. Later in Cassiobury Park at 3pm 7 Ring-Necked Parakeets again flew SE over the council yard.
Firstly after all the recent Waxwings I decided to change my main picture for my blog and I have to thank Andrew Moon for allowing me to use his superb image. Cheers Andrew.
Secondly over the last two days quite large flocks of Ring-Necked Parakeets have flown over the council yard in Cassiobury Park. Yesterday 2 groups of 9 and 6 flew over just after 3pm and today at 3pm 19 flew over. Both times they were flying SE possibly to roost somewhere?
I eventually decided to brave the snow and pop over to my mums in North Watford to drop off some prezzies and to have a look for the Waxwings my mate Bob had found the day before just round the corner. Unfortunately there were only 5 birds present and not the 80+ seen first thing in the morning. Ah well you can't win em all!
While walking round to the post office in the snow to post some Christmas cards I looked up at the top of a lampost and casually announced to my other half oh look theres 2 Waxwings sat up there!! Surely i'm not getting blase about seeing them or at the moment finding them?!!
I then had a call from my mate Bob Harris saying that he was watching around 85 Waxwings from his flat on the road around the corner from my mum!
Well grass cutting in the rain in December when you feel like death warmed up isn't exactly the best way to spend a day at work but today it was. At 9.30 this morning I arrived to cut the grass in St.John's road play area opposite the Escourt Arms pub and on exiting the van I was greeted with the chorus of trilling. Waxwings!! Thinking it'll probably be another 7 as that seems to be as big a number I find at the moment (not that i'm complaining!!) but I looked up and the tops of the 2 biggest trees were covered in birds. First thing to do was count them as best I could and I finished on 133 birds with others that flew off it was probably nearer 150! This was far and away the biggest flock of Waxwings i'd seen not just in Herts but the UK and i'd found them! I phoned some local birders to let them know and put the news out on the pager. I popped back just after 2pm and found yes you guessed it just 7 left!! Len Goodman from strictly come dancing would have a field day!! SEVEN!
On arriving back at Cassiobury Park I once again heard that distinctive trilling and 2 more Waxwings flew over!
Whilst walking from the mess room to the loo in the council yard in Cassiobury Park I heard the distinctive trilling of Waxwings overhead. I quickly looked up and saw 7 birds flying East towards the town centre. Also present were c.50 Siskins still around the new hide and 5 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers including 2 drumming. A Kingfisher was in a fallen Willow tree between the rustic bridge and the waterfall.
7 Waxwings in the nearby tree, a close up of 2 of the birds and the Rowan tree.
Today was spent in Cassiobury Park and what a first couple of hours it was bird wise. Whilst in the council yard at 7.50am looming out of the mist at just above tree top height was a Raven with a mouthfull of something, only the 2nd ever record for the park! 10 minutes later a trilling call was heard and just overhead flew a Waxwing. This was the first record for the park since the 59 I found in 2005. Later on a Little Egret was on the river, 80 Siskins were in the Alders next to the new hide and nearby 2 Water Rails squealed away. On the cress beds were 3 Teal and a male Tufted Duck. The tufty was possibly the same bird seen on the fishing lake earlier in the year which was only the 9th record for the park. 2 Little Owls called to each other near the football pitches and just before lunch a Great-Spotted Woodpecker started drumming.
After work I tried looking for more Waxwings in Diamond Road but he 5 fully laden Rowan trees were birdless. I then thought i'd try my luck just around the corner from where I live where on Saturday I failed to locate Bob Cripps 2 Waxwings in a small yellow berried Rowan on the junction of Louvain Way and Poplar Close but as luck would have it as I approached the tree up flew a single bird and joined another 6 in a nearby tree. I rang Bob to let him know and after he'd seen them I raced home and dragged the missus out to see them as she'd been wanting to see one for a while now!! Unfortunately the photos I took were in fading light and so pretty rubbish!!
After my last post saying that it was unlikely that a Waxwing would be found in Vicarage Road cemetery, low and behold at 9.40am this morning while sharpening the pole saw we were using I suddenly realised that I was hearing the trilling call of a Waxwing and it was flying overhead!! I caught sight of it as it was heading away from me heading NW and was lost to view after flying over some houses. Shame it didn't want to stop off and eat some Yew berries!! It was my first of this species (my favourite) since 25 in Great Yarmouth 4 years ago.
Well as you may have noticed theres not been an update for a while. Mainly due to the fact i've not been anywhere as it's either been dark once i've finished work or last weekend I had my son over and it was too cold to drag him anywhere!
This week i've been in Vicarage Road Cemetary every day clearing snow from paths and reducing the hedges at the front and back. With the weather as it's been the birds have flocked in to feed on the berries and numbers have been impressive (by cemetary standards anyway)!
4 species of thrush have been seen with at least 6 Mistle Thrushes and a couple of Fieldfares but Redwings are numbering in the 50's and Blackbirds into double figures. A few Goldfinch and Greenfinch drop in as do a few Jays. At least twice this week a Sparrowhawk has zoomed in and put everything up but then been mobbed by crows. But there have been no signs or sounds of any Waxwings and theres not likely to be as most of the berries have gone! Unless they eat Yew berries?!!
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.