Saturday, 30 July 2011

Tring - 30.7.11

The Ruff, 1 LRP and the one that didn't get away!

As it was a nice day and we were child free myself and Barbara (the missus!) decided to have a wander around the reservoirs at Tring. First port of call was Wilstone Reservoir. From the top of the car park steps I saw 4 Greenshank over the far side but the rest of the notable birds were seen from the hide. 2 juv Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpiper and a male Ruff were on view as were 15 Little Egrets. A Reed Warbler half heartedly sang a couple of times and I saw my first Small Copper butterfly of the year.

After a quick drink in the Angler's Retreat pub we walked around Startops End Reservoir. Apart from a few Mallards and Tufted Ducks it was fairly quiet. That was until we approached the NW corner. I suddenly saw 3 Red Kites circling over fields (presumably one that was being ploughed earlier) between us and Wilstone Reservoir. 3 turned into 7 then finally 10 Red Kites were circling together! This is the first time i'd seen a double figure flock in Herts and it's the biggest flock i'd seen since 40+ in 2002 in Oxon (the first time i'd seen them in UK). Another singleton was seen later over Tring.

Whilst walking back to the car a young fisherman had hooked a large fish. A small crowd then gathered to see what it was. A few minutes later he hauled out a large Mirror Carp which after weighing in at 29.5lbs (apparently his personal best!) and a few photos it was released back into Marsworth.

Gone Batty! - 29.7.11

As there were no birds seen of note other than a nice Stock Dove that allowed close approach I was back in the park in the evening to join the HMWT bat walk. I've worked in the park now for 10 years but from memory I can't recall ever seeing a bat before. In just over an hour we had seen 4 species of bat. 6+ Pipistrelle, 2+ Soprano Pipistrelle, 2 Noctule and at least 3 Daubenton's as they flew low over the river. The funniest bit though was the kids that came along were told to shout BAT whenever they saw or heard any bats. Suddenly one of the kids shouts BAT as 5 Mallards flew over the canal!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 28.7.11

The surprise bird of the day was a Common Tern which flew North following the canal. A Bullfinch was heard in the meadow and 8 RN Parakeets were seen through the day.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 26.7.11

Well the lack of posts can really only mean 1 thing. Theres nothing to report not even dull stuff! Today though saw a family party of Nuthatches by the bowls club and a couple of RN Parakeets flying over. 11 Mistle Thrushes were by the log benches just before lunch.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Garden Tick - 22.7.11

I stumbled out of bed this morning and suddenly remembered that it was bin day! I got my uniform on and my trainers and put the recycling out on the path and suddenly heard a Crossbill! It flew over the houses to the right of me and circled over the green before heading back over the houses. A few seconds later not 1 but 4 Crossbills flew over the houses and headed off NE loudly calling. At the park I bumped into an elderly couple who I meet every now and then who do a bit of birding. They were looking for the Little Owls but hadn't seen them. Just as they said that they probably wont see 1, hey presto 1 flew in! Later at KGVPF, 13 Swallows were flying past me with what looked like an adult feeding young in mid air.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 20.7.11

The first birds of the day were 3 RN Parakeet with 4 more following shortly after. A surprise on the tennis courts were 4 juv Pied Wagtails. Whether 3 of them are the same as seen a while ago i'm not sure. 1 juv Little Owl was sat in it's tree and even winked at me! At least 3 Chiffchaffs were around with the resident songster again near the meadow along with 1 by the rustic bridge and 1 by the cress beds. Also on the beds was a single Coot. It looks finally as if work to return the beds to business use is in full swing with a new perimiter fence put up around the boundary and 2 new wooden board walks installed over the water.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 18.7.11

A Sparrowhawk over the yard was a nice start to the day. This was closely followed by 3 Ring-Necked Parakeets. A male Chaffinch was having a bath in a small pool of water on top of a picnic table in the cafe grounds! A Chiffchaff was still singing it's heart out near the meadow (is it doing it for a mate or just for fun?!). 2 Kingfishers were heard but not seen near the waterfall. As I was driving home a Hobby flew alongside the car over the boundary fence of Leavsden Studios.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Kings Langley + Wilstone - 15.7.11

I started the morning at my sons school for his sports day. He managed 3rd in his sprint, egg and spoon race and relay and was happy with that! Bird wise while waiting for his races a Sparrowhawk with prey flew over aswell as 3 Red Kites.

Afterwards I visited Wilstone Reservoir for a bit. There had been up to 14 Little Egrets reported but I could only find 4. An Oystercatcher, Redshank and my first Green Sandpiper of the year were seen from the hide and an early sign of Autumn with 9 Wigeon present.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 14.7.11

A Sparrowhawk dived into neighbouring back gardens first thing and a party of Swifts screamed overhead. A group of 5 Green Woodpeckers (2 ad and 3 juv) showed well before being flushed by a dog walker. At KGV playing fields what looked like a new juv Herring Gull was flushed by a dog walker just before I could get any closer!! And back at home 2 Rooks flew over the garden with what looked like an adult being harrassed by a juv begging for food.

Annoyed William! - 13.7.11

A slow start to day the day rapidly went a bit mad but ended up not as good as i'd hoped for! A report on the Herts bird club had reported 5 Little Owls in the park which means I haven't seen as many juvs as I thought! I only managed 1 today but not everyone can say they go to work and see owls! A couple of LBB Gulls were taking a paddle in the pools before it opened and I finally managed to find a juv Green Woodpecker that was close to one of it's parents. but the best bird of the day was seen just before lunch. I'd been on red alert for a few weeks now after reports of Crossbills in the county so at 11.20 whilst working in the car park I suddenly heard the "glip glip" call of one flying over. I thankfully managed to get my eyes on it as it was flying low West towards the meadow. It flew in but was not seen again. It was just before 11 that the MEGA alert sounded and to my amazement it said there was a Greater Yellowlegs in Northants!! I asked for short notice annual leave but it was turned down. Just aswell as it was re-identified as a Greenshank!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 12.7.11

An adult Little Owl was still in it's tree and the Whitethroat was again singing but it seems to only do it early morning. A Sparrowhawk flew over upsetting the House Martins!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 11.7.11

1 of the Little Owls was still around as was the Whitethroat singing somewhere from the old cress beds. But it was when going to shut the toilets that all of a sudden around 100 Black-Headed Gulls appeared from all over the place and started thermalling over the Langley Way entrance. They were joined by 6 Lesser Blacked-Backed Gulls but no sooner had they arrived they all dispersed!

Cassiobury Park - 8.7.11

The Whitethroat from the other day was still singing near the river and by the croquet lawns 3 Green Woodpeckers were feeding on the ground.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Watford - 7.7.11

Another wet day hampered any good birds but the juv Little Owl was still around and Mistle Thrush numbers had risen to 9. In the afternoon I was down at nearby KGV playing fields were 9 Swallows were flying low over the fields after insects.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 6.7.11

A Whitethroat that sang briefly was a surprise this morning. A Sparrowhawk flew through and put up 8 BH Gulls from the paddling pools. 25+ Swifts were over the council yard screeching and a Swallow and Cormorant were reported to me.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 5.7.11

Firstly an apology to my American readers as I spelt Independence wrong! Oooops!

Birdwise today was much quieter than yesterday. The juv Little Owl was still in its tree and a Bullfinch was heard in the meadow. I also forgot to mention the Sparrowhawk that was seen just before lunch yesterday!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cassiobury Park - 4.7.11

Happy Independents Day to my American visitors!

From 7.30-11.45am I had an excellent morning of birds. The first bird of the day was a Hobby over the tennis courts. This was followed by 2 Siskins that flew East. A bit later while in the car park I heard a gull that sounded like it was mobbing something and sure enough directly overhead there was a Herring Gull mobbing not 1 but 2 Buzzards! While watching them another bird caught my eye but lower down, amazingly a Red Kite flew South. Finally the juv Little Owl was in its favourite tree.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Summer Siskin - 2.7.11

Whilst hanging out the washing this morning a Siskin flew over calling. Unseasonal but not unheard of.

8 Already?! - 1.7.11

8 years ago today my son Tom was born and boy has it flown by! So happy birthday Tom!

In the park I saw 3 Little Owls in the Oak trees with 2 adults and a fluffy juv that was hissing away like a snake! Nice to see considering how many people sit under those trees blissfully unaware the owls are there and probably stopping them from hunting.

Cassiobury Park - 30.6.11

Well thats half the year gone already and its not been too bad a first 6 months in birding terms with 7 UK ticks and 4 county ticks so far! I hope the next 6 months are as good?! As for the park a Buzzard was being mobbed by a Herring Gull over the top end (Rickmansworth Road) and Black-Headed Gulls numbers had risen to 3 birds over the river. A Chiffchaff was also singing still and occasionally calling which to me reminds me of Autumn so it can't be too far away!