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.

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