Saturday, 29 December 2012

Norfolk - 27-28.12.12

After a quiet Christmas seeing family locally myself and Carey decided to drive up to spend the night at my dads in Norfolk. We arrived mid morning and fancied a cream tea so headed to Horsey. Whilst in the mill car park a Common Crane got itself onto my year list and while eating our cream tea around 150 Pink-Footed Geese flew over and also were new for the year. A very quick look out to sea at Gorleston saw 15 Common Scoter just offshore with just one of them being a male.

The next day arrived too quickly and with the weather being as crappy as usual I had a seawatch from the car for around 20 minutes which proved to be quite fruitful. A large flock of around 150 Common Scoter flew north distantly, an adult GBB Gull was on the sea and 8 Dark-Bellied Brent Geese headed south as did a nice group of 10 male Eider. 8 Knot, 3 Turnstone and a Dunlin were the only waders seen but a group of 12 scoters seen flying south were the highlight with all of them being Velvet Scoter but like the common's yesterday just one was a male but they were a year tick all the same!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


Just wanting to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Cassiobury Park - 18.12.12

My last day at work of the year bar christmas eve saw just a Sparrowhawk perched up alongside the canal and a flock of around 30 Siskin over the rustic bridge. Roll on Christmas!

Cassiobury Park - 17.12.12

After a cracking weekend of birding it was back to the park where the days highlights were a Kingfisher heard along the canal and a Bullfinch calling from the wooded area by the mini railway. a Sparrowhawk flew over the toilet block as did a Cormorant but a Red Kite over the car park was the best bird of the day.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

2 County Ticks And A Mega Pipit!! - 16.12.12

2 pics of the Buff-Bellied Pipit and 3 of the GN Diver.

Well what a day indeed what a weekend. After yesterdays redpoll I decided to make my first visit to Therfield Heath in the hope of seeing one or both Long-Eared Owls that had been present since October but had mainly been supressed due to possible disturbance. I parked up and followed the muddy path south and started making notes of what was seen. A few Yellowhammer and Fieldfare were sat in the bushes and a Lesser Redpoll flew over. Blackbirds seemed to be everywhere with at least 20 seen but probably more and 3 each of Buzzard and Red Kite were seen overhead but around noon after walking up and down the Icknield Way for nearly an hour suddenly a big pale bird flew out of an ivy covered tree flew a few yards and perched up in a tree for around 20 seconds. It was my first Hertfordshire Long-Eared Owl staring back at me with its glowing orange eyes and its long ear tufts erect. I managed to get my camera out of my pocket but as I was lifting it up to take a pic it flew off and was lost to view. Happy with that I headed back to the car and was thinking of going home but as the traffic was being kind I thought i'd head into Berkshire to Queen Mother Reservoir. I arrived just after 1.30pm paid my £2 and got to the top of the steps when I recieved a text message telling me about a Diver sp. at Hilfield Reservoir! As i'd paid my money I power walked round to join the crowd and there on the waters edge was my 2nd ever American Buff-Bellied Pipit. It was so close I couldn't digi-scope it so I had to zoom my little camera up to full and shoot. As it was moving so quickly I failed to get a decent image but it was a great bird to see. I had a quick scan for the Red-Necked Grebe and Long-Tailed Duck that were present but failed to see them and so back to the car and towards Hilfield. At 3.10pm I was on site and ran up the steps set myself up and got straight onto the now identified juvenile Great Northern Diver. My 2nd Herts tick of the day! It was half way out but showing well but after just 3-4 minutesit was spooked and flew off. It circled the reservoir for a bit then headed off to the SE before turning around and landing back on the water. Also present were 2 redhead Smew. An amazing weekend of birding.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Mega Redpoll - 15.12.12

5 Decent photos from 45 taken!!

Due to having my son last weekend I couldn't make it up to Suffolk until today so around 10am I set off for Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast and arrived just over 2 hours later. I parked up in the car park just below the sea wall where a small group of birders were positioned. I climbed up and got into position and saw nothing! Apparently the bird had disappeared into a clump of weeds only the size of a football on the beach. Thankfully after a few minutes out it popped and there infront of me was my first ever HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL! This high Arctic snowball was a big lump of a bird and had obviously never seen humans before it arrived as it fed happily only a few feet away from us! I managed a couple of photos before it flew off towards the yacht club. I then bumped into fellow Herts birder Mike Illet who then picked up a Red-Throated Diver flying south. This was an embarrasing year tick! After half an hour or so it was refound sitting in a wooden fence before it flew back to the beach. I had to move backwards to be able to get the whole bird in the camera when digi-scoping!! Other birds noted were singles of Meadow Pipit, Turnstone and Dark-Bellied Brent Goose.

Cassiobury Park - 14.12.12

After the frost came the rain again and with it a group of 7 Teal that flew into the flood just to the north of the meadow. This is the first time i've seen them away from the cress beds. A few Siskin flew over the pools and a Sparrowhawk shot through. A Common Gull was seen first thing and was followed by 2 adult Herring Gulls between the car park and pools.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cassiobury Park - 13.12.12

An adult and juv Cormorant flew south along the canal mid morning and up in Oxhey on the village green the only bird present was an adult Common Gull. Back in the park a juv LBB Gull was on the pools and a female Sparrowhawk zoomed over Lime Walk chasing a Blackbird.

Cassiobury Park + The Urban Birder! - 12.12.12

For such a momentous date it was a shame that the birds seen didn't live up to it with a Grey Wagtail late in the day by the pools and a group of 18 RN Parakeets that flew SE off to roost over the yard. Later in the evening the day did finally pick up with an excellent talk by David Lindo aka the Urban Birder at the Watford RSPB group monthly meeting and getting to chat with him briefly at the end. On the journey home at 10.20pm a Grey Heron was seen feeding on the verge of the A41 inches from traffic on the thawed grass!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cassiobury Park - 10.12.12

A quiet day today with a Little Egret on the river viewed from the rustic bridge first thing and a couple each of Redwing and Siskin overhead. Unfortunately no Waxwings yet on the berry laden Rowan outside of Cha cha cafe yet but 2 Stock Dove were in the large Oak trees just outside the yard.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Cassiobury Park - 6.12.12

Just after 8am whilst opening the back gates to the yard I heard the trill of a Waxwing but unfortunately I couldn't pick it up but 20 minutes later I saw a single bird flying North (same bird?). A Grey Wagtail was heard flying past the toilet block and the female Mandarin was seen next to the lock on the canal with Mallards.

Cassiobury Park - 5.12.12

2 Water Rail were heard squeeling from the hide a Lesser Redpoll flew over the car park. Around 60 Siskin were along the canal path and10 Redwing flew over the yard early morning.

Cassiobury Park - 4.12.12 800th Post!!

2 Lesser Redpoll and a Cormorant were todays highlights if you can call them that?!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cassiobury Park - 3.12.12

A quiet start to the day picked up mid afternoon when a Kingfisher was heard near the rustic bridge and at least 2 Bullfinches were heard by the mini railway storage area. 6 Redwings flew from a tree in the yard just before hometime.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Hilfield Reservoir - 1.12.12

With an hour or so to spare this morning I headed over to the reservoir to see if the Common Scoter that had been found 2 days previous was still there. As I reached the top of the steps there it was only a few yards from the dam but it started to swim away from me and then spent a lot of time asleep! In the hour I was there I managed the one good shot above. Also seen were at least 21 Teal (14 males) which is a very good number for Hilfield, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll and 4 RN Parakeet on the feeders. I did have a fairly good photo of one of the parakeets but accidentaly deleted it!

Cassiobury Park - 30.11.12

4 Cormorants flew over as I pulled into the car park first thing and a single Lesser Redpoll and a handful of Siskin were the only other birds of note.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 29.11.12

The day was a quiet one until just before hometime when a Little Grebe popped up on the canal and a Grey Wagtail flew over the toilet block.

Cassiobury Park - 28.11.12

A few Siskin overhead and a Treecreeper near the Gade Avenue entrance to the park made it onto the notes section of my phone as did a Common Gull chasing a Black-Headed for it's food. I also recieved news of 12 Waxwings on Langley Way on the 27th between the shops and park entrance so most likely the same group as I had a few days ago?

Cassiobury Park - 27.11.12

The morning started with a Meadow Pipit over the toilet block before I left the park to do some pruning on the nearby Cassiobury estate. I then had to tip the prunings at our Oxhey depot where along the drive a female Kestrel gave close views and 15 Redwing flew over. I was back in the park for the afternoon and saw around 25 Siskin by the mini railway and from the hide were a pair of Pheasant which were the first i'd seen in a while. But the best bird was a female Mandarin on the river just south of the meadow bridge in with a group of Mallards.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 26.11.12

A wet and dreary day was brightened up by 1 possibly 2 male Mandarin. The first was on the canal just south of the canal bridge followed by another or the same on the fishing pit. Apart from that 2 Coal Tits were seen from the hide 2 Siskin and 5 Redwing flew over.

Waxwings - 25.11.12

With just 1 month to Christmas I thought i'd get in an early prezzie by driving up to Aylesbury in the search of a small flock of Waxwings. Around 11am myself and my girlfriend arrived on site and immediately had 4-5 flying around but after a while all 24 birds flew into the trees and started feeding on Rowan berries. I went to photograph them but found my camera battery had died and is most likely totally dead so the pics above were taken on my phone.

Cassiobuty Park - 23.11.12

15 more Fieldfare flew over the yard first thing and mid morning a Mistle Thrush was heard singing. During the afternoon the first drumming Great-Spotted Woodpecker of the winter was heard near the cafe.

Cassiobury Park - 22.11.12

The highlight of the day happened on the way to work when driving along Stratford Way towards Hempstead Road a small flockof 12 Waxwings flew SE towards the park. I immediately turned around to try and re-find them but drew a blank. Whilst in the park a Lesser Redpoll flew over as did 17 Fieldfare that headed over the paddling pools. 8 Mute Swan flew over the woods near the fishing lake and were later found on the canal (2 adult + 6 juv).

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 21.11.12

A crappy day weather wise saw only 5 Redwing and singles of Siskin and Herring Gull.

Cassiobury Park - 20.11.12

On the football pitches with the Black-Headed Gulls were 2 Herring and a Common Gull. Then on the way back up to the yard after opening the toilets 12 birds flew South and looked remarkably like Waxwings but annoyingly they didn't stop. Thankfully around 3 hours later 3 birds flew out of the park over the Shepherds Road entrance and with a single trill I finally nailed my first Waxwings of the year but hopefully not my last seeing as there are thousands invading the country again this year. Just before the end of the day 20 RN Parakeets flew through.

Cassiobury Park - 19.11.12

Mallard flew over the car on the way in to work and while at work a mixed flock of winter thrushes flew overthe yard consisting of 8 Fieldfare and 5 Redwing. A Cormorant circled over the canal briefly and a single Lesser Redpoll was in with 20 Siskin. A Grey Wagtail was in the car park and 3 Coal Tits were seen on the feeders from the hide. Finally a Little Egret flew along the river.

Cassiobury Park - 16.11.12

c.60 Siskin were seen near the mini railway and in with them were 3 Lesser Redpoll. A Grey Wagtail flew over the pools and a Little Egret was along the river. On the watercress beds was a juv Mute Swan. And around the council yard in the morning were 3 Goldcrests.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 15.11.12

The highlight of the day today were the 5 Waxwings. Unfortunately for me I knew nothing of them until i'd got home so hopefully they will still be around tomorrow?! 20 Siskin was it for me personally.

Cassiobury Park - 14.11.12

An even quieter day with 2 Redwing and 10 RN Parakeets of note.

Cassiobury Park - 13.11.12

A quiet day with 7 Redwing and a few RN Parakeets overhead and a Grey Wagtail along the river and 20+ Siskin by the mini railway.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 12.11.12

The Siskin flock were still around the mini railway numbering closer to 50 birds now and included in the flock was at least 1 if not more Lesser Redpoll with another over the car park just before lunch. A Grey Wagtail flew onto the paddling pools where it joined a flock of 75+ Black-Headed Gulls. In the woods a Goldcrest was with a mobile tit flock and a Sparrowhawk upset the woodland birds by zooming through. The highlight was my first Little Egret of the autumn/winter period that flew over the rustic bridge.

Sunday - 11.11.12

Whilst at my mums a Red Kite flew over annoying the local girls and down at Knutsford playing fields giving Tom a bit of fresh air a Meadow Pipit flew over.

Cassiobury Park - 9.11.12

The day started with a Fieldfare over the flat. At work a Meadow Pipit and a Cormorant flew over and 3 Green Woodpeckers together in the conservation area was a nice sight.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cassiobury Park - 8.11.12

At least one Fieldfare flew over the yard this morning but was only a heard as I was reading the paper before work and didn't get out in time to see how many there were! The flock of c.40 Siskin were again by the mini railway with a 2 Redwing over the toilet block. A Meadow Pipit flew over the paddling pools. A Grey Wagtail was seen feeding along the overflowing river near the hide and a Sparrowhawk was hunting just before the end of the day but the best bird was a single Rook that flew south over the toilet block mid morning. This was the 4th bird for the year after 3 flew over in January.

Cassiobury Park - 7.11.12

An even quieter day with just 2 Meadow Pipits and a Skylark over and 8 RN Parakeets around the park.

Cassiobury Park - 6.11.12

A quieter day today with no park firsts! A Grey Wagtail flew over the paddling pools as did 25 Redwing. 6 Mistle Thrush were around the cricket outfield including one induldging in a bit of singing. A Skylark flew over the east end of the park and 2 Meadow Pipit headed over the car park. 5 Pied Wagtail were feeding in the ruts left by the lorries in for the fireworks at the weekend.

The Med Comes To Cassiobury Park - 5.11.12

My first day back at work after 7 weeks off with my back and annual leave was hard work after doing virtually nothing but a bit of walking whilst off but the birds made up for it. An adult Common Gull was with the Black-Headed Gulls and due to heavy rain the day before a small pool of water had appeared infront of the toilet block. On it were single Pied and Grey Wagtails, 15 Mallard and a Grey Heron! 40+ Siskin were back again for the winter by the mini railway and 5 Redwing flew over. Near the hide 2 Goldcrest and a Treecreeper were in with a tit flock, a Coal Tit was on the new feeders and a Water Rail called. A Little Owl was heard calling from the park while I was in the car park but the bird of the day and I guess the Autumn seeing as I missed most of it was the first park record of Mediterranean Gull (a 1st winter) that circled over the cricket outfield for around a minute before it frustratingly flew off south. This bird represents the 155th species recorded in the park/Whippendell Woods.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Portugal - 31.10.12

The sleepy Black-Winged Stilt and Glossy Ibis

The last day of our holiday was upon us and so after brekkie we decided to walk down to the beach and walked east towards a small resteraunt in the distance that had a large wooden walkway attached to it over the inland area of marsh. The first birds of note were a group of 7 Spoonbill on the marsh sleeping again! 4 Serin then flew over before a small bird flew out of a tree infront of us and onto the floor. It was a Redstart which was a nice surprise as it was my first anywhere this year! After watching it for a couple of minutes I caught up with the others in the small car park and to my left a small bird flitted up from the weeds and called a single Zit. I immediately recognised the call as i'd heard it once before down in Kent. It was a Fan-Tailed Warbler! It skulked around for a bit before perching up for 10 seconds to let me have a proper look at it. Once on the beach the waves were rather large even with no wind which transfixed Tom all the way to the restaurant. 3 brown birds then landed in the dunes and looking at them in the bins I was please to see all 3 were Crested Larks a bird i've also seen in Kent! After 90 minutes we finally got to the restaurant and the only Wheatear of the holiday was perched on a rope fence below. After a dinner of clams and fish we walked over the long bridge. A Cetti's Warbler called from the other side and 4 Black-Tailed Godwit flew overhead. Once on the other side we walked along the edge of the golf course and found 2 more Crested Larks in the rough. My first ever female Sardinian Warbler perched long enough to get a good view and eventually we arrived at a new hide. On looking out just Little Egrets and Redshanks could be seen but a small pool a bit further along the path held a bird i'd hoped to see. A Black-Winged Stilt. We had a quick walk up to see it but it had gone to sleep. Realising we were being picked up in 3 hours to go to the airport we headed back but I noticed a small lake on the golf course so said i'll be 5 minutes and i'll catch you up! I was hoping for a Purple Swamphen but I only saw Coot and Moorhen plus Little Grebe, Pochard and Shoveler but then suddenly I noticed infront of me a Glossy Ibis. I managed a photo before it flew and I had to run back. The flight back was a bit of a rough landing at Luton and we got home just past midnight. A great break away with the family and a grand total of 79 species.

Portugal 30.10.12

White Stork in Faro and spot the Sacred Ibis!

A sunny start soon turned to rain almost as soon as we had walked out the foyer and into a cab heading towards Faro. We got dropped off and booked a boat trip around the nature reserve offshore. A few Yellow-Legged Gulls were in the harbour and 4 White Storks were on buildings in the town. On the boat trip which lasted an hour with a skipper who didn't speak English and in the rain with no roof a Whimbrel was the first bird of note with a pair of Gadwall closely behind. The first Spoonbills were next but by the end of the trip a total of 45 had been seen. A Common Sandpiper saw us coming and flew off but a Sacred Ibis was a surprise. 3 more White Storks were distant but the hoped for Flamingoes weren't forthcoming. Possibly the biggest surprise was of another/same Caspian Tern seen heading east. I'm not entirely sure how rare/common this species is in Portugal but to find 1 or possibly 2 of them in just 4 days certainly is unexpected! Back at the hotel and whilst standing on the balcony a Little Owl called twice.

Portugal - 29.10.12

The Kentish Plover 

After Tom had had another cold dip in the pool we headed west again for lunch. As soon as we entered the woods a smart male Black Redstart flew up onto the roof of a small building but soon disappeard. 2 female Serin landed atop a pine but soon flew off. After lunch we strolled along the beach until 6 waders flew a short way ahead of us. 5 were Sanderling but the other one turned out to be a juv Kentish Plover! This was only my 2nd ever with my first also a juv but in Devon. Shortly after getting some photos a Dunlin joined them but a dog put them up and off they went. The only Swallow of the holiday was flying over the marshes and 6 Teal were on the water. A quick wander after the others had gone back to the hotel produced 3 more Bluethroats but none with a blue throat and another/same Crested Tit in the woods.

Portugal - 28.10.12

The day dawned hot and sunny and all Tom wanted to do was get in the pool! We nabbed some loungers and in he went but screaming that it was very cold! I left him to it and got some sun whilst watching the birds go by. More AW Magpies were in the trees along with a calling Chiffchaff then to my amazement 6 Hawfinches loomed into view and headed off north just as quickly as they had arrived. Just a few minutes later I looked skywards and overhead in a thermal were 43 White Storks!! They disappeared behind the hotel but within the hour another 29 were seen going in the same direction. Not bad considering i've only seen 3 in the UK! After lunch we wandered down to the beach and headed east towards a small group of restaurants but not before i'd seen half a dozen Sardinian Warblers in the woods. After lunch we headed west past the hotel towards some marshes. I had a quick look out to sea and noted just a few Gannets but then I noticed heading from the west a massive tern! It slowly flew past letting me note the short tail, white rump, dark out edges to the wingtips and the giant carrot stuck on its face!! It was a Caspian Tern! It continued east and out of view but half an hour later it flew back west. On the marshes it was a case of normal home fare with Redshanks and Grey Herons everywhere but then mum and Carey suddenly said whats that? A small bird had flown from the path and onto a stretch of shrubs in the marsh. After a few minutes it popped out and there infront of us was a cracking Bluethroat with a full blue throat! Annoyingly it turned round and walked into the shrubs and wasn't seen again. The only other bird of note was a distant Spoonbill doing what they do best, sleeping! We turned round ourselves and headed back to the hotel and in the pines a small bird was flitting about. Eventually it showed and it turned out to be a Crested Tit! My first since i'd seen them in Scotland back in 1991! The last good bird of the day flew past the balcony when I was stood watching the AW Magpies with a Glossy Ibis in with 3 Cormorants.

Portugal - 27.10.12

The best I could manage of the stunning Azure-Winged Magpies

As my son had been dropping lots of un-subtle hints about having never been on a plane before my good old mum booked us all 5 days in the Algarve for half-term. So early Saturday morning myself, Carey, my son and my mum were at Luton airport freezing to death waiting for the shuttle bus to take us from the car park to the airport. While waiting 32 Fieldfare flew over. Shortly after 3pm and we had arrived at Faro airport in 22 degrees and were sweating with all our winter clothes on! During the journey to our hotel (about 30 mins drive) a White Wagtail was seen on a small pool next to the airport and near the hotel a Green Woodpecker (see below!) flew away from us but it was a bird on the roadside that got me excited as there briefly was my first ever AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE! What I hadn't realised that the hotel we were staying at (Formosa Park hotel + apartments near Almancil) was on the western edge of the Parque Natural Da Ria Formosa! During the stay I saw around 50 Azure-Winged Magpies between the hotel and the San Lorenzo golf course a couple of miles to the east. They showed very well in large groups even from the balcony when going to roost but they were very fidgety and getting a good photo proved impossible with my little camera through my bins. Aside from the glorious magpies a quick walk through the small wood to the beach produced mainly stuff that I could see back home. That was until a female Serin briefly showed in a pine. Another Green Woodpecker then perched up long enough to note that it looked different facially than the birds back home in having a lack of black around the eyes with only a thin black line bordering the red moustache. Admittedly i'd not bothered looking up any local gen so when I looked at my Collin's guide I realised I had seen an Iberian Green Woodpecker ssp sharpei!!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Autumn saved by a Slav Grebe!! - 26.10.12

The showy Slavonian Grebe

Unless you live on the Northern Isles, Western Isles, Western Ireland or the Scilly Isles this autumn has been in terms of rare birds and lifers very dull! So one day before my break to Portugal news broke about a grebe that had been present at Wilstone Reservoir for 3 days. It had initially been identified as a Red-Necked followed by a Black-Necked. I didn't need either of these for my Herts list so didn't venture over. Then the news I was hoping for was that it was indeed a Slavonian Grebe was released and I definately needed that for Herts!! So I rushed over there to find the bird showing down to a few feet on the waters edge! A quick scan of the reservoir produced a late Swallow and a Rock Pipit near the new overflow. 2 Lesser Redpoll flew over as did 38 Redwing. Near the hide were 11 Pintail (3 male) and in the far corner of the field from the old overflow were 2 Red-Legged Partridge and in with a flock of Chaffinch I picked out 2 Brambling which were my first anywhere for 3 years. From the freezing cold to the warm Algarve!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Wilstone Reservoir - 9.10.12

After being told by my doctor yesterday that he was signing me off for another fortnight (which just happens to lead into my 2 weeks annual leave from work!!) to recover from my slipped disc, the thought of being cooped up staring out of the window again filled me with misery. So as myself and Carey were cat sitting at her mums in Chesham I decided to get up with her and while she went to work I headed over to Wilstone for a bit of very leisurely birding. I must have been a funny sight trying to get my walking boots on which took over 5 minutes but in that time my first Lesser Redpoll and Redwings (10) of the Autumn flew over. Eventually I was ready and started my stroll to the hide. 2 Siskins flew over the new outflow as did 3 Meadow Pipits. A Grey Wagtail flew in infront of me but just as I was going to get a photo it flew off. 6 Swallows then headed South. I reached the hide and sat down with a sigh of relief though that relief was short lived sitting on a plank of wood! From the hide a group of 29 Golden Plovers were in with the Lapwings. The number slowly grew with additional arriving birds and by the time I left there were 55 present. Another Lesser Redpoll flew over, 3 Little Egrets were on view and a Snipe flew around before landing out of view to the right of the hide. Just before I left 2 large thrushes flew high in from the East and my first Fieldfares of the Autumn were onto my list. 3 Bullfinch were seen in flight while walking through the woods and then back to my car and home and straight onto the sofa!

Whilst i'm on i'll put out an appeal that should some rare birds turn up and you have a spare seat going that can fit a 6ft cripple in then please let me know as 20 minutes driving is enough for me at the moment!! Thanks.

Chipperfield - 7.10.12

Very kindly my mum had invited myself and Carey for Sunday dinner and whilst walking to the car 2 Siskin flew over. My first of the Autumn and first for my fledgling Chipperfield/garden list.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Raven-ing It Up! - 4.10.12

Due to my dodgy back i'm still off work and spending too much time in the flat but just before lunch I heard a Raven call through the open window and on closer inspection I picked it up heading SW towards the common. I got my bins out and had a better look only to be amazed that another 5 joined it and now all 6 birds were in my field of view! After a minute or so they disappeared behind houses. On checking my records its my second biggest count of Raven in a day after seeing 7 in Wales while dipping a Blue Rock Thrush a couple of years ago (but in one's and two's) so 6 together is my largest group.

Chipperfield - 3.10.12

A small and quick passage of Swallows flew South over the garden totalling 31 birds.

Chipperfield - 1.10.12

Whilst going round the flat closing the curtains I spotted a Sparrowhawk perched up on the fence of next doors garden. Looking through bins it was a lovely female. I tried a digi-binned shot but it was just too dark for my camera.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Wilstone Reservoir - 25.9.12

Firstly my apologies for the lack of posts. The reason is that i've been off work since last Tuesday after according to the doctor most likely slipping a disc in my lower back which has severly restricted things like moving and walking!! Having only spent less than 7 hours outside of the flat in a week the walls were closing in too much and there is only so much daytime telly you can watch so I thought sod it i'm going out. As the weather was dry for a change I headed over to Wilstone Reservoir where after the slowest walk i've ever made to the hide I finally had good views of the Great White Egret that was now on it's thrid day of residence. It showed very well and closer than my only other Herts GWE which was way back in 2003 (on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK) also at Wilstone. 3 Little Egrets and a Ringed Plover were the other noteworthy birds. After about 20 minutes I was starting to ache so off I went back to the car and home again where a Red Kite over the car on the A41 became my 300th in the UK!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cassiobury Park - 18.9.12

At least 10 Jay were in the park including 8 circling high over trees by the croquet lawn first thing. Not something i've seen them do before. 4 Swallow headed SW with a Meadow Pipit soon after. A Chiffchaff was by the yard as was a Sparrowhawk that was soon mobbed by Jackdaws and Starlings.

Cassiobury Park - 17.9.12

A good start to the day was had with 18 Meadow Pipits flying over followed by 2 Grey Wagtails over the paddling pools. But then it went quiet!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

BAILLON'S CRAKE!! - 16.9.12

After dipping last weekend and hearing that it had showed well first thing yesterday I decided to give it another go. So 3.30am and I was up and out by 4am! I arrived on site just before 5am and waited for a few minutes for the wardens to open up. A brisk walk in the dark down to the hide and I managed to grab a seat and waited for it to get light enough to see anything! Just after 6am the shout went up that it was showing but dopey old me was looking in the wrong place until I gained my barings and got onto my first ever BAILLON'S CRAKE (year tick number 200) as it crept around in the reeds just infront of the hide. For the next 5 minutes we all watched this tiny bird before it disappeared back into the reeds and at the time of writing (12pm) hasn't been seen since! Unfortunately theres no accompanying photo as my poor little camera couldn't cope with the lack of light even though viewing through my scope it was clear and light. A big thank you must go to all the reserve staff who have given up their last 2 weekends to allow us to stand a chance of seeing this bird. Bring on the Autumn MEGAS!!

Family day out - 15.9.12

As my dad, step mum and sister had come down from Norfolk for the weekend the whole family went out for the day. First stop was Tring museum where we looked at all the stuffed birds and animals followed by a game of football in Verulamium park in St.Albans as my son wanted to see how good his grandad was as he used to play for Watford FC! While at the park I noted a Red Kite, Buzzard, 30+ House Martin and around 10 Swallow but the best was saved till last when a Yellow Wagtail flew over the car park.

Cassiobury Park - 13.9.12

The best sighting of the day was that of 6 Swallow that were perched up in the top of a tree by the cricket boundary. From memory this is the first time i've seen them perched up in the park. A Chiffchaff was enjoying the sun by singing briefly by the river and another Meadow Pipit flew over.

Cassiobury Park - 12.9.12

4 Meadow Pipits flew South early morning and the Pheasant called from the cress beds which is the first sign for a while.

Cassiobury Park - 11.9.12

A small charm of 25 Goldfinch flew over the paddling pools and 6 Swallows headed South for the winter mid morning.

Rainham Marshes - 8.9.12

After a great start to the year with 3 lifers by mid February it went very quiet until the dowitcher but a day later and another potential lifer was found at Rainham. So early Saturday and I was in the Shooters hide along with a few familiar faces but as I had to be back home I only had 90 minutes to hopefully see it. Unfortunately it didn't want to play ball and so Baillon's Crake had to stay off my list. Great views of a Hobby catching dragonflies and 5 Green Sandpipers (year tick number 199) were the only compensation.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Heat haze affected photos of the Short-Billed Dowitcher.

I knew I shouldn't have opened my mouth when last Saturday after arriving home from our holiday on Portland I turned to Carey and said "I bet you any money i'll have to go back down there next week!". Forward to Monday and news of a Long-Billed Dowitcher at Lodmoor appeared on the pager had me a little annoyed that it couldn't have turned up a few days earlier but after having seen one in Dorset the year before I wasn't too worried. Forward again to 11.40pm on Tuesday and the noise of my pager mega alerting and telling us all what had been discussed on Birdforum that the bird was in fact a Short-Billed Dowitcher (only the 2nd ever in the UK)! I'd planned to go the next day but getting out of work was tricky so I nervously read any reports of it still being there all day. Thursday and I was at work with my boots on ready to start work until a pager message saying it was still there came on. I asked if I could have the day off which thankfully was agreed (thanks boss!) and I jumped in the car and headed through crappy traffic on the M25 and eventually arrived on site at 11am. I joined the rest of the birders and immediately got onto the bird my first ever SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (annoyingly I paid for 5 hours in the car park after it went missing for hours yesterday!) but it was asleep behind a godwit. Whilst waiting for it to wake I scanned through the gulls and counted at least 15 Mediterranean Gulls.Back to the dowitcher and it was still asleep only occasionally lifting its head. After a while it flew closer to us walked a bit then decided to preen right behind a BH Gull! After over an hour it finally gave itself up and wandered around in the open where I managed my 2 shots above. Happy that i'd seen enough and more importantly the barred tertials I headed off for home and meeting one of my blog readers on the way to the car! (I won't say his name as he was supposed to be working in Portsmouth at the time and I don't want him to get into any trouble!!). For anyone reading this I was the one dressed in my all green work uniform!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cassiobury Park - 4.9.12

2 Meadow Pipits that flew South over the pools together and 10+ RN Parakeets were seen mid morning and 2 Goldcrests were heard near the car park.

Cassiobury Park - 3.9.12

Back to work and back to the usual fare in the park. 12 Canada Geese flying North following the canal was it for the day.

Dorset - 1.9.12

As it was the last day of our stay I set the alarm for 6am and set off for the bill. Just as I was passing Culverwell a bird flew up from the roadside narrowly missing the front of my car and flew to a tree in Culverwell. It was amazingly a Nightjar! One had been seen early the previous day but had last been seen around 11am so whether it was the same bird or another one no one will know but it was my first ever migrant Nightjar as i'd only ever seen them on their breeding grounds. The only other notable birds were 11 Common Scoter over the sea and my first Willow Warbler, Sparrowhawk and Yellow Wagtail (4) of the week.

On the way home I tried again for the Woodchat Shrike at Wyke Regis but again it didn't want to show. 2 Whinchat, 2 Buzzard, 2 Wheatear, Raven and a White Wagtail were seen instead!

Dorset - 31.8.12

2 Wheatear and a Raven.

Another day another wander round the bill. A sunnier day had dropped a few more migrants in and around Culverwell I found 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Whitethroat aswell as a male Blackcap but a Tree Pipit that I picked up calling was seen as it flew directly over my head and onto the yearlist. 200 Wheatear had been seen around the bill but all day I only saw 6! 3 more White Wagtail were on the common.

A quick stop at Ferrybridge saw 3 Med Gulls (2 adult winter and 1st winter).

Dorset - 30.8.12

White Wagtail and record shot of the Little Stint.

Happy Birthday to me! A late morning walk around the bill was a quiet affair with 2 Raven, 2 Peregrine and a White Wagtail making the notebook with 3 Swift over the sea as we had lunch.

Another visit to Lodmoor was had and a Greenshank, Black-Tailed Godwit and an adult winter Med Gull were seen but after a 20 minute search I finally found the juv Little Stint that had been found earlier in the day.

Dorset - 29.8.12

I woke early this morning and as there was a band of heavy rain due early morning I headed down to the bill for a seawatch. Whilst getting ready in the car park a Greenshank flew over narrowly avoiding the clutches of a Hobby. A slow but steady movement of birds was had but the highlight was a dark skua I picked up as it flew past the cafe and slowly headed out to sea. I got the other birders on it and it's small size and fluttery flight ID'd it as a juv dark morph Long-Tailed Skua! A total of 4 Manx Shearwaters along with another Sooty Shearwater flew past but it was Balearic Shearwaters that were showing in numbers. In the time I was present 18 of them flew past of which I found 3. 5 Common Scoter were the last species to get on the list before the rain started chucking down.

We later popped into Weymouth for a wander and thankfully the rain had eased a bit and by the time we had come out of the cinema after watching the new Total Recall the rain had stopped and a walk on the small pier saw 2 Sandwich Tern and a 2nd winter Med Gull fly past. A quick visit to Lodmoor RSPB only produced a Little Egret, 7 Common Sadnpiper and 6 more Sandwich Tern.

Dorset - 28.8.12

1 of the 2 Whinchats.

As there was a good bird back on the 'mainland' we headed back North and while driving past Ferrybridge I spotted a Little Egret on the small pool next to the car park. I took Carey to Littlesea to show her the Haven holiday camp that i'd spent many a happy holiday at and also to have a quick nose over the fleet! A quick scan found 3 more Little Egrets and 3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 adult winter and a juv).

Next stop was Wyke Regis where after a bit of walking I picked up my first 2 Whinchat of the year along with 4 Wheatears. Unfortunately the Woodchat Shrike didn't want to show itself. Another juv Med Gull was on the fleet and my first Painted Lady butterfly of the year flew past.

We paid another visit to the Bill early evening and as Carey read her book I notched up 3 Sandwich Terns and another Manx Shearwater but around 4.45pm I picked up a Grey Phalarope as it was heading West. Unfortunately quickly after I picked it up it flew into the sun's reflection on the sea and I lost it disapointing the birder behind me who I was trying to get on it.

Dorset - 27.8.12

As it was my birthday during the week myself and my new girlfriend Carey made the most of things and headed down to Dorset for 5 nights. We set off just after 7am on bank holiday monday and got 2 minutes down the road before being confronted by a car heading towards us in our lane! Luckily a quick flash of my lights and he pulled over and even stopped, reversed and apologised. He was foreign so probably forgot which side of the road to drive on?!! We reached Dorset around 10am and stopped off at Ferrybridge briefly but here the highlight was a single Knot but the number of Ringed Plovers was amazing being well over 100.

As we wasn't able to get into our room till 2pm we headed down to Portland Bill where Carey got stuck into 50 shades of grey on her Kindle I joined a few other birders seawatching in the protection of the cafe as the wind was blowing fairly strong. Almost as soon as i'd set my scope up I got onto 2 Arctic Skuas (both dark morph) soon followed by a Manx Shearwater. A brief lull was broken by the shout of SOOTY and sure enough a Sooty Shearwater flew West. Another 2 Arctic Skuas flew by (1 dark and 1 pale morph) and then 3 more shearwaters were picked up and these turned out to be Balearic Shearwaters. 4 year ticks within an hour was a good start. 2 Guillemot scurried through and just as I was about to head for a bit of lunch I picked up 10 distant 'commic terns'. After getting into our room we had a wander over verne common towards the prison and found the first Wheatear of the trip in a quarry and 2 Swifts over the prison.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Chipperfield + Berkhamstead

The juvenile Bullfinch was still visiting the Rowan tree in a neighbours garden and then whilst dropping my son off in Berko a Red Kite flew over. This was my 100th in Herts!

Cassiobury Park - 24.8.12

A Kingfisher was heard peeping along the river but a Meadow Pipit that was heard as it flew over was the highlight and the first of hopefully an array of autumnal migrants to be seen. I can dream!!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cassiobury Park - 23.8.12

Amazingly the Willow Warbler was still singing this morning and the calling Chiffchaff was still around. At the park another Willow Warbler sang briefly near the mini railway. An adult Herring Gull was on the paddling pools before it opened and a noisy group of 5 flew over (2 juvs).

Cassiobury Park - 22.8.12

The first bird of the day again went to the singing Willow Warbler in the trees next to my car in Chipperfield aswell as a calling Chiffchaff. Once at the park 2 more Chiffchaffs were calling as was a Blackcap. 7 House Martins were over the cricket outfield and a Sparrowhawk flew over the yard.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Cassiobury Park - 21.8.12

As I walked towards my car this morning I was surprised to hear a Willow Warbler singing in the Silver Birch next to my car. In the park the Starling flock was still 50 strong but were joined by 14 Mistle Thrush. A Little Owl called briefly in the afternoon.

Cassiobury Park - 20.8.12

6 Pied Wagtails were still on the cricket outfield along with 7 Mistle Thrush in with a flock of around 50 Starlings. Back at home a juv Bullfinch was feeding on Rowan berries in a neighbouring garden with another calling but not seen.

Bird Fair - 19.8.12

For the first time in years I decided to pay a visit to Rutland Water for the annual bird fair. Unfortunately for me i'd chosen the hottest day of the year to go! I went up with my mum and my son. Amazingly he had a good time and enjoyed it even though birds come behind football, wrestling and play station! I met Ernest Leahy and the Tyttenhanger trio of Steve, Ricky and Graham and on the Neotropical bird club stand I bumped into Anna Hughes and Charlie Wilkins who I stayed with on Scilly in 2004 but hadn't seen for a while as they have moved to France. After a sweaty walk round and seeing Johnny Kingdom and Simon King I made my way home having bought nothing but lunch! A quick stop to have a look over a bit of the water produced a Kingfisher and a Little Egret.

Cassiobury Park - 17.8.12

The day started off with 3 juv LBB Gulls in the paddling pools with around 20 BH Gulls then after the cricket outfield had been cut ready for the weekend 9 Pied Wagtails were seen feeding on the disturbed insects.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Catch Up

Apologies for the near total lack of posts but I need to see things of note to include here! Hopefully as the Autumn gets into full swing there will be more regular updates on here. So keep watching!

Cassiobury Park - 15.8.12

12 RN Parakeets flew over the yard first thing and a Pheasant was heard in the meadow area. 4+ Swallows flew North but it was a Linnet low South over the log benches that was the highlight.

Cassiobury Park - 9.8.12

A flock of 16 noisy Herring Gulls flew over the paddling pools early morning of which 5 were fresh looking juvenils.

Cassiobury Park - 8.8.12

The day started off with 13 Magpies around the paddling pools and 2 juv LBB Gulls in the pools itself. 7 Herring Gulls flew over the yard including 2 juvs.

Cassiobury Park - 7.8.12

A Little Egret was reported to me as being on the cress beds.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Cassiobury Park - 3.8.12

A Grey Wagtail was on the cress beds and 4 different Chiffchaffs were still singing. As the rain moved in it pushed 14 Swift over the yard.

Cassiobury Park - 2.8.12

The day started off well with 17 RNP Parakeets over the yard (14 + 3) then by the tennis courts a group of 6 Jay were in the trees. And that was it!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Cassiobury Park - 31.7.12

6 House Martins were over the East end of the park late morning and a Sparrowhawk flew over the yard.

Cassiobury Park - 30.7.12

A Grey Wagtail flew over the pools early morning and it or another was on the new cressbeds. A Sparrowhawk flew over the log benches and the first Swift in a while was over the yard. A juv Robin was in the yard in the afternoon.

All the C's - 24.7.12

The first bird of the day whilst walking to my car in Chipperfield was a Crossbill that was so low and had the sun on it I could tell it was a male! Then at work at Cassiobury Park 9 RN Parakeets flew over the yard (my largest group in ages).

Cssiobury Park + KGVPF - 20.7.12

A juv Little Owl was heard screeching mid morning then whilst doing the cricket at KGV playing fields 83 Carrion Crows were feeding amongst the cut grass and 6 Swallows were flying over it. 2 Chiffchaffs were singing along the Ebury Way.

Cassiobury Park - 19.7.12

It was a day of fairly high numbers today with 10 Mistle Thrushes were again on the cricket outfield, 14 Mallards on the canal, 11 BH Gulls (highest count of the autumn so far) flying over the pools and finally on the new (being re-furbished) cress beds 9 Mute Swan were present (2 ad + 7 juvs).

Then this evening whilst watching telly at my girlfriends with the windows open in Chipperfield a Tawny Owl was heard calling nearby. My first of the year.

Cassiobury Park - 18.7.12

15 Swift were above the council yard first thing. Yesterdays 2 juv Moorhens were joined by an adult and the 2 Chiffchaffs were still singing but the highlight was the 14 Blackbirds on the tennis courts in the morning.

Cassiobury Park - 17.7.12

2 well grown Moorhen chicks were on the river and the young Mallard was still abover the waterfal. 2 Chiffchaffs were still singing as was a Blackcap.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cassiobury Park - 16.7.12

2 Chiffchaffs were still singing this morning and the Mistle Thrush count had risen to 11 birds on the cricket outfield mid morning.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Cassiobury Park - 13.7.12

A Bullfinch flew over the yard first thing whilst down along the river 2 Chiffchaffs were singing and an adult and juv Green Woodpecker were by the paddling pools.

Cassiobury Park - 12.7.12

Another day of only 1 bird of note with todays bird being a Buzzard over the yard mid afternoon.

Cassiobury Park - 11.7.12

The only bird of note was another Crossbill that flew SE over the East end of the park at 11.20am.

Cassiobury Park - 10.7.12

3 Green Woodpeckers (2 ad + a juv) were on the grass by the cafe first thing. A Chiffchaff was still happily singing away in the meadow whilst on the river a pair of Moorhen were feeding a fairly well grown chick. A Sparrowhawk flew over the cricket square early afternoon and just before home time 9 Mistle Thrushes were on the cricket outfield.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cassiobury Park - 9.7.12

9 Blackbirds were on the tennis courts first thing and a Grey Wagtail flew North over the paddling pools mid morning.

Cassiobury Park - 5.7.12

The main highlight of the day was had when going to open the toilet block! I was just about to open the door of the gents when I heard the glip glip call of Crossbills. I looked up and managed to see 7 of them as they flew SE towards the paddling pools. A few minutes later a Skylark flew North. On the cress beds a single BH Gull was present along with a Mallard family with 5 small chicks. Another slightly bigger chick was with its mother just above the waterfall.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Red Kite - 4.7.12

Firstly may I wish my American readers a Happy Independence Day!

Secondly the only bird of note today was a Red Kite over Kings Langley after work.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Cassiobury Park - 3.7.12

A Red Kite flew West over the yard early morning and a family party of 6 Mistle Thrush (2 adult + 4 juv) were on the cricket outfield.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Cassiobury Park + SABINE'S GULL!!!

4 camera phone photos of the Sabine's Gull.

Back to work this morning and whilst near the canal 2 Kingfishers were busy chasing each other. Down on the cress beds I noted a pair of Mute Swans and at least 6 cygnets aswell as a BH Gull.

Then at around 11.30am a message came onto my pager telling of a Sabine's Gull at Startops End Reservoir yesterday and not a Little Gull as first reported. Depression sank in thinking that we had all missed the first bird since the great storm of 1987! Amazingly though not long after that message another appeared to say it was still present. Luckily I finish work at 3pm on a Monday so I headed straight over and as I reached the top of the stairs there it was only 30ft away! Over the next hour it sometimes flew past at eye level less than 10ft away. Annoyingly I had left my camera at home and so the photos you see were taken on my phone.

Around this time last year I scored 3 UK ticks in 11 days (Broad-Billed Sandpiper, White-Throated Robin and Roller) and this year i've had 3 county ticks in 19 days (Little Bittern, Spotted Sandpiper and Sabine's Gull). Who says summer birding is quiet?!!

Chipperfield - 1.7.12

9 years ago today I became a dad. Where does the time go?!

Whilst sitting in my new girlfriends living room I noted at least 2 Red Kites and a Hobby. It's like a raptor watchpoint from the window as i've already seen Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cassiobury Park - 28.6.12

Nothing more exciting than 2 juv Woodpigeons and a juv Carrion Crow begging for food today and 12+ Swifts over the car park.

Cassiobury Park - 26.6.12

The first returning Black-Headed Gulls were seen in the afternoon with 2 birds flying over the paddling pools.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cassiobury Park - 25.6.12

Well just 6 months to Christmas! The only bird of note today was a Buzzard that flew over being mobbed by gulls.


Late morning and I was sat reading the paper when I recieved a call from Tony Blake saying he had just found a Spotted Sandpiper at Hilfield and was I nearby to come have a look! 15 minutes later and I was watching the bird but frustratingly it was fairly distant and facing away so all I could see was a Common Sandpiper looking bird but with paler upperparts before it started chucking it down with rain and the bird dropped onto the bank and out of view. A few minutes later it popped back on top of the damn but shot round to the other side of the bridge. A couple of other key holders arrived and slowly we walked up to the bridge and viewed from there. Another few minutes wait and the finder saw it fly to the SW corner of the reservoir and the rest of us watched it there for just under 5 minutes noting even at that distance the obvious orange bill. Then without warning it flew off low over the water eastwards. Whilst flying I noted the white wing bar was restricted and finished short of the inner wing (an ID feature for Spotted Sandpiper). It was lost to view near the East bank and as of yet hasn't been seen again.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cassiobury Park - 22.6.12

A Cormorant flew over mid morning and a juv Magpie was being fed by its parents by the paddling pools.

Cassiobury Park - 21.6.12

2 LBB Gulls flew over and a male Bullfinch was near the meadow. A Collared Dove on the ground by the mini railway was an unusual sight.

Cassiobury Park - 20.6.12

Singing Chiffchaffs were now up to 3 birds with the original 2 still in the nature reserve and another was at the far East end of the park. A Sparrowhawk flew over being mobbed by crows and 2 Bullfinches were in the woods near the fishing lake.

Cassiobury Park - 18.6.12

2 Singing Chiffchaffs were in the nature reseve and a Grey Wagtail was on the river near the Gade Avenue entrance.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Little Bittern Again - 17.6.12

Sticking Her Tounge Out At Us!

A Red Kite was near Kings Langley and another was seen over Stocker's Lake. A Cetti's Warbler was heard on the causeway. An Egyptian Goose was seen from the Tern hide and I saw my first ever Little Egret on a nest aswell. But it was the show stealing Little Bittern that was the highlight of the day. As you can seee from the photos it did show well at times!

Cassiobury Park - 15.6.12

A male Bullfinch was seen on the journey into work and whilst at work a Sparrowhawk flew through and a Cormorant flew over.

Cassiobury Park - 14.6.12

The only bird of note today was a Little Egret that flew from the river and headed SE. This is the first summer record for the park.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

LITTLE BITTERN!!! - 13.6.12

After hearing the belated news and seeing the belated photos of a Little Bittern at Stockers Lake on Sunday most Herts birders were left thinking what if. So imagine the amazement when news broke that it had been refound by Tyttenhanger regular Steve Blake. Annoyingly for me I was sat in the Drs for 50 agonising minutes before I headed over with a pounding migraine! (I thought some fresh air would do me good!). I arrived on site to learn it had just flown round the back of the island on the river. A nervous wait finally paid dividends when it flew out and spent ages fishing just the other side of the river. At one point it caught a perch and spent a long time trying to swallow it without the spines sticking in it's throat! Annoyingly I'd left my camera at home so used my phone to take my pics.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tyttenhanger GP's - 5.6.12

An afternoon stroll around Tyttenhanger saw my first Liitle Ringed Plover of the year added to the list aswell as 3 Buzzard, 6+ Common Tern and a female Kestrel.

700th post!!

Who'd have thought that when I started this blog back in 2009 that it would still be going and having 700 posts?!

Anyway in the park today (30th May) 2 brrods of Canada Geese were seen on the river by the fishing pit. 1 brood had 3 juvs and the other had 5 and were all together with their parents. A Grey Wagtail on the cress beds was a rare sighting this year and a Treecreeper was near the mini railway.

Cassiobury Park - 29.5.12

The only bird of note today was a Red Kite flying over the fun fair presumably looking for any scraps of food before heading off South.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cassiobury Park - 23.5.12

The first birds of the day were 2 Common Terns that flew high NW over the yard at 7.45am. A Kingfisher flew through the trees near the Langley Way entrance mid morning.

Cassiobury Park - 22.5.12

A 6am start was had today to prepare for the parks green flag award inspection and just after six 14 Stock Doves were near the log benches and a Little Owl dropped out of its tree to feed on the ground briefly. The most surprising bird of the day was an unseasonal Siskin which flew West. A Kingfisher was heard as it flew up river and a Buzzard was over the yard just before I went home.

Cassiobury Park - 16.5.12

Only a Sparrowhawk made the notes today when it flew over the cricket square. The later a Red Kite was near Leavsden Studios.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Finally i've managed to get a couple of photos off my phone and onto the computer so I can add the m here. They are the Fulmar at Wilstone and 4 of the 5 Wheatears at Cassiobury. Both were taken on my phone through my bins so the quality isnt what you would call great!

Cassiobury Park - 15.5.12

For the first time in a while there were some birds worth noting in the park! A Common Tern flew along the canal, 11 Swift and a single House Martin were overhead and a Blackcap was singing in the council yard first thing.

Minsmere Again! - 13.5.12

The male Garganey and the young Treecreepers.

Less than a week after visiting the reserve and I was back this time with the Watford RSPB group. This visit didnt see as many year ticks but I did manage 4 more. 3 of those were seen from the East hide with a Curlew Sandpiper on one of the islands and a Little Gull on the water and flying around. A Hobby was also seen distantly but better views were had further around the reserve. The final year tick was a pair of Garganey that appeared out of nowhere posing just long enough for a photo before vanishing again. Because of the high water levels last week there were no Avocets but around 20 were seen today as the water level had dropped. 3 Little Egrets were on the levels and a Yellow Wagtail flew over. From the new Island Mere hide 2 Bitterns were seen in flight and in the woods a family party of 7 Treecreepers were seen with 5 young huddled together on a branch being fed by the adults. A Marsh Tit on the feeders by the visitor centre was the last bird of note for the day.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Suffolk - 5-7.5.12

The Wryneck, Worlds worst photo of BW Stilts and the Ring Ouzel.

As it was a bank holiday weekend I decided to head up to East Anglia. In Lowestoft a Black Redstart was in the car park near the North denes and 4 Avocet were on the boating lake at Southwold.

A Sandwich Tern flew past the beach car park at Winterton and a Barn Owl was sat on a post by the road near Halesworth. A Cuckoo flew alongside the car at Theberton.

But the bank holiday Monday produced some quality birds at Minsmere RSPB with a showy Wryneck and 2 not so showy Black-Winged Stilts being the highlights. Other notable birds were a Ring Ouzel and Stone Curlew and a couple of singing Nightingales.