I popped up after work to see if I could add any new species onto my patch list but again I failed. The highlight was a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull in the roost. Although it looked almost like an adult summer it had a very small amount of black still in the primaries so I guess its nearer a 2nd Summer bird.
The day got off to a flier when a Peregrine flew over the car park at work. At Cassiobury Park a Lesser Redpoll was around the yard and tennis courts and became my latest year tick. As I was walking to my car at the end of work a Linnet flew over.
As the weather was fairly pleasant I decided to head up to Tring again mainly to see if the BarnacleGoose actually existed! My first stop was College Lake where a quick scan from the main hide saw 3 Redshank added to the list. As there was no sign of any geese I quickly headed over to Marsworth Reservoir. I walked in along the causeway between the 2 reservoirs and immediately heard Kingfishers calling. I then noticed over the far side in the horse paddocks that the Canada Geese were present so a better look was needed and thankfully I located the 1st winter Barnacle Goose at last! I then walked around Startops and just before the end I found the female Scaup and this time showing well. A brief look at Tringford failed to produce anything of note and so I went back to Marsworth in an attempt to see the elusive Bittern. Alas that didn't show nor did the Barn Owl. 50 Corn Bunting flew in to roost and a Cetti's Warbler was calling.
The day started off like any other but at around 2pm whilst in VR cemetery a loud glip glip call alerted me to a Crossbill as it headed over the NE corner. Sadly it didn't feel like the cemetery was appealing enough to stick around.
But it went a bit mad about 45 minutes later at the council yard in Oxhey Park. I'd just put a mower away and was walking back to the van at the far east end of the yard when I heard alarm calls from the local birds. Expecting to see one of the Sparrowhawks that bred in the woods last year I was amazed to see what shape wise resembled an overweight Hobby. If it was May and not March that's what I would have told myself but this bird looked like nothing I'd ever seen before. It was Hobby size but very pale underneath apart from a black wedge on the wing tips/primaries. The tail was short and the wings were almost permanently pointed backwards at the carpal joint. It then moved east but suddenly stopped and hung in the air like a Kestrel for a couple of seconds but at no point did it flap its wings. It the carried on east and was lost behind the trees. All in all I viewed the bird for perhaps 10 seconds and annoyingly I never saw the upperwing. Although I've never seen one in the wild the only possible species it could be based on the plumage, structure and behaviour is a BLACK-WINGED KITE but then I have to bare in mind it's early March, it's Hertfordshire and it'd be a 1st for Britain!! There's also the escape factor to include. Make up you're own mind with this one as I don't know what to make of it all!
As if I hadn't had enough already in the previous 3 days looking for the Barnacle Goose I tried again but once again failed miserably. The 3 Pintail were still around and a Chiffchaff was next to the hide.
My 3rd visit in 3 days was made in the hope of seeing the Barnacle Goose. I tried Wilstone first but there was no sign. 3 Pintail were a patch tick though. Next stop was College Lake where another Pintail and 10 Snipe were noted but the Barny had flown off as I entered the car park!
I popped up to Marsworth again this time looking for the reported Barnacle Goose but it didn't show itself however a Raven that flew over was certainly some reward. Later in the day I started emptying the garage at home and whilst at the tip in Bricket Wood another Raven was spotted feeding in with around 70 Jackdaw. It flew off though as the sun was setting.
Another visit in the hope of some new patch ticks did produce the goods. I started off at Wilstone and had a flock of 24 Golden Plover fly over as did a Little Egret. But it was the gull roost that produced the first good bird. In fact the near summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull that was found by Dave Bilcock was my first of this species at Tring! After watching it for a while I headed over to Marsworth in hope of the elusive Bittern. 7 Corn Bunting were seen to roost with c.50 Starling and a Water Rail squealed from the reed bed. Again the Bittern didn't play ball but a Woodcock flew over the top of the reed bed and vanished. This was also my first record for Tring.
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.