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.