A 6am start was had today to prepare for the parks green flag award inspection and just after six 14 StockDoves 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 StoneCurlew and a couple of singing Nightingales.
Whilst preparing the cricket wickets I heard the call of a Yellow Wagtail but it only called twice and then stopped so I thought it must have gone but when I was marking out the boundary 3 Yellow Wagtails got up and headed towards the hospital.
Another miserable day weather wise was only brightened up with a singing Willow Warbler just the otherside of the canal, a Swallow flying South (who can blame it!) and a Bullfinch near the mini railway.
Whilst dinner was cooking I decided to head over to Hilfield for an hour or so after a message telling me of 2 Black Terns being present. I arrived to find many Swifts flying around and once at the top of the steps there were around 600 present with some flying a few feet from my head. That was the first year tick of the visit and was closely followed by 3 more in the shape of 2 Common Sandpipers, 3 adult Black Terns and an Arctic Tern. Also present were at least 2 White Wagtails and a Wheatear aswell as many other hirundines.
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.