The first bird of note of the day was the first returning Black-Headed Gull that flew over the tennis courts. The Mistle Thrushes had dropped to 2 birds and a non avian highlight was 2 Silver-Washed Frtillaries, 1 in the council yard feeding on nettle flowers and another that flew West over the sports area. Only my 2nd and 3rd record of this species anywhere!
Well 500 down and heres to the next 500! It's amazing how the weather can change in 24 hours. After yesterdays heat today was muggy and very stormy. After the last storm had past I counted a group of 8 Mistle Thrushes near the paddling pools. There was also a flock of 40 Starlings mainly juvs on the tennis courts this morning.
Only 2 birds of note today and both birds of prey. At 8.10am I heard the alarm call of House Martins above the paddling pools. I looked up expecting to see a Sparrowhawk but I was pleased to see a Hobby fly through before swooping down into the woods just South of the meadow. In the afternoon I was down at KGV playing fields preparing the cricket for the weekend. Another alarm call this time from a Herring Gull and up in the sky was a Red Kite being mobbed.
A very quiet day only got quieter once the rain had started! 2 juv Carrion Crows were being fed by their parents near the bowling green (never seem to get a White-Throated Robin on my green!!) And a strange site by the rustic bridge of a juv Blackcap closely following a Robin and even begging for food!
This morning I heard a Spotted Flycatcher singing briefly by the fallen dead tree opposite the bowls club. Shame I didn't see it. Further down the park I sawa juv Carrion Crow being fed by an adult. 7 Mistle Thrush were seen today, 2 by the bowls club and presumably a family party (2 ad + 3 juv) between the car park and paddling pools. Maybe an early sign of Autumn was a singing Chiffchaff way up the park near the cafe that was present briefly. Another was still down by the river.
The first bird of the morning was a juv Woodpigeon followed shortly after by 2 juv Pied Wagtails perched on one of the tennis nets. The 2 Little Owls had moved further up the park where they called to each other. A Kingfisher flew over my head next to the rustic bridge.
3 photos of the juvenile Night Heron. The bottom photo (as blurry as it is) shows a lovely orange colour to the underside of it's foot.
As it's Father's Day today I decided to have a lay in and didn't get out of bed until 10am. I had some breakfast then I did some hoovering and hung out some washing! My missus then said lets go out for dinner so we went to the Tudor Arms for a bit of food (classy I know!). Imagine then to my horror and probably every Herts birder when news broke of a Night Heron at Stockers Lake that had been on view from 9.30am till 1pm at least!! It was now 2.30pm and I was waiting for my food to arrive! Luckily it stuck around and about 3.30pm I was on site and watching my first NightHeron in Herts. Such a shame that it was a fair distance away on one of the islands so getting a decent photo was tricky (for me at least!) A Red Kite flew over aswell.
The highlight of the day was a female Grey Wagtail by the waterfall this morning. Without looking at posts from the start of the year this could well be the first sighting of 2011! 2 Bullfinches were heard with 1 near the meadow and 1 by the council yard. The 2 Little Owls were still in the Oak trees this afternoon and the first bird of the day was a juv Goldfinch on the shed roof in the back garden which the missus saw first but called it as a "dinky sparrow"!!
A very wet morning meant that not much was seen but I did manage 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets and 2 Little Owls in their Oak trees. The first time i've seen 2 for a very long time. Before the rain started I found a juvenile Jay closely following an adult calling for food.
A day of juvenile birds today with 2 each of Blackbird and Robin in the council yard and 2 SongThrush young by the tennis courts. A Little Owl was in one of the Oak trees near the pools and it even flew onto the floor to catch some prey.
After the excitement of yesterday when I added my 3rd UK tick in 11 days it was back to more mundane birding today. The Kingfisher flew along the river at the far end of the meadow and a Blackcap family party was near the rustic bridge. 3 Swallows were a surprise when they flew North this afternoon and my first Ring-Necked Parakeet in a while flew through this morning.
As some of my readers may have noticed i've added my blog to the Fat Birder site which lists the top bird related sites/blogs from around the world. I went straight in at number 1119 but on my last check had risen to 1034!! For anyone viewing my blog through this site may I welcome you and hope that you enjoy what I have to say and hopefully you will either add me to your favourites or better still start following me! Ian
Back to work this morning and the only birds of note in Cassiobury Park were a family party of Nuthatch by the rustic bridge, a juv Grey Heron that flew over the rustic bridge and a Kingfisher that flew along the river by the meadow bridge. But it was another bright blue bird though that was reported just before lunch that got me excited. A summer plumaged adult Roller had been found at Upper Hollesley Common in Suffolk! Luckily on a Monday I finish work at 3pm so rushed home and picked up my optics and left. I arrived on site around 5.15 and there it was my first ever ROLLER sat perched on the perimiter fence of the MOD land. It was just a shame that it was a tad distant and so the photos I managed of it were affected by heat haze and my inability to take a good photo!! Thankfully the drive home was traffic free so I was home by 8.15pm.
My one photo of the White-Throated Robin and the small rose bed where it was when I took it.
After one offer of a lift and days of agonising and being depressed everytime I checked the pager I could take no more and so off I went on an 8 hour/500 mile round trip to Hartlepool Headland in Cleveland! And boy was it a mixture of happiness and luck that I saw the bird in question. I arrived just after 11am and walked the couple of hundred yards to join the 40 or so birders already present around the inner bowling green. I asked a birder when it was last seen and he said about 10 minutes ago but that it was in the bushes infront of us somewhere. I walked round the other side for a better vantage point and within 5 minutes out it popped and began feeding amongst the poppies and shrubs. It then flew towards us and started feeding in a small rose bed about 25 feet away and occasionally popped into full view on the grass. There infront of us was the 3rd WHITE-THROATED ROBIN for the UK. Aged as a 1st Summer Female it was truly stunning and continued to feed for about another 10 minutes before it flew off in the direction of the doctors garden where it also favoured and usually stayed there for hours on end. I hung around till 12.20pm but due to the return journey I decided that I couldn't stay any longer. A good choice aswell as it went missing for the rest of the day! Lucky or what?!!
I've been off all week with a bad case of Sciatica so i've not been in the park to see whats around there. The only highlight has been a Hobby that flew straight over the garden on the evening of the 8th.
For some reason I didn't add this on here after I wrote up my last post but on the Friday 2 RedKites flew over Princes Close in Berkhampstead when dropping of my future step-daughter at her dad's! A Whitethroat was singing in the adjoining allotments aswell though they seem to be singing everywhere this year!
3 award winning photos of my first Broad-Billed Sandpiper!!
For the first weekend of my week off I had my son, so when a potential new bird for me turned up in Norfolk not far from my dads I thought I could kill two birds with one stone (not literally!!) but annoyingly it wasn't to be seen on the day I was going to go up! Luckily another (or possibly the same bird) turned up at the same site a few days later and so I decided to go for it. I left around 9am and arrived just around Noon. I joined around 8 other birders on site only to find out it hadn't been seen since 10am when it went to roost! Luckily i'd timed it (by pure chance) that the tide was just starting to go out and eventually the waders left the roost to start feeding. The heat haze was horrendous so that wasn't helping picking it out but eventually I got on it but just as the first birder got onto it the whole flock flew and landed in the middle of the channel! I decided to drive round to view from the South wall and almost straight away picked it out again. There it was my first BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER in the UK. I called the only other birder over and got him onto it then put it out on the pagers. It fed for a while before flying further West but from there it was showing at its closest so thats where I got the 3 photos above. Also present were 3 1st summer Little Gulls, 5 Avocet, Little Tern, 3 Knot and a singing Cetti's Warbler. On the way home a Hobby flew over the car near Bygrave.
Even though i'm off work for the week I still went to the park this morning to join the Pinner RSPB group on their monthly walk and it proved tobe a pretty good 3 hours or so. A Red Kite that flew over was the best bird of the day but it was the finding of a Ring-Necked Parakeet nest that was the highlight for me as i've been anticipating the first nesting record for the park for the last couple of years but have never proved it. Infact it was mainly breeding birds that were in evidence with young Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Moorhen, Stock Dove at a nest hole and a young Woodpigeon being fed by it's parent. A Bullfinch was heard but not seen and 2 CommonTerns were over the fishing lake.
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.