Friday, 12 August 2022

Cassiobury Park - 11.8.22

 An early start at work to get home to avoid the heat produced the goods when at 6.50am I heard the call of Crossbills and sure enough I quickly picked up 4 birds flying NW just above tree top height. That’s 150 species up for the year.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

CAPE GULL!! - 7.8.22

3 photos of the Cape Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

There I was just about to start some gardening out the front of the house when news filtered through of  new bird for Britain. Even better it was less than an hour away so the gardening could wait and off I went. I arrived at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire (my first ever visit to this site) in around 50 minutes as the roads were kind and wandered off down towards the dam. 

Here I bumped into a few familiar faces in John Pegdon, Mike Illet, Darrel Bryant and Brendan Glynn and they kindly got me on the bird stood on the muddy bank in with some Canada Geese. And there it was a sub-adult CAPE GULL. Looking like a miniature albatross with its long thick bill, dark beady eye and long bluey/green legs it certainly looked different to our regular gulls. 

I then joined the throng up on the dam rather than the sandy beach below it and here I met Dawn Erskine properly after having walked past her a few times on Scilly last year not knowing it was her, Mark Sutton, Chris Gooddie (of The Jewel Hunter book fame), Steve Richards and George Moreton. Views from here were a bit better as the sun wasn’t in your face. Also present were 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and a fly over Yellow Wagtail was heard but not seen. 

I wish all twitches could be as close and straight forward as this one was!

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Oxhey - 7.7.22

 While looking around Paddock Road allotments to see what works needed doing I heard a calling Bullfinch. My first of the year. 

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Herts Hoopoe at Hinxworth! - 26.6.22

3rd May 2010 was the last time I saw a Hoopoe in the UK. That was down in Kent. I have to go back even further for my last one in Herts. That was 11th May 2007 at Bishop’s Stortford. 

So when Matt Moreton offered me a lift I took him up on it. We left just after 7am and about 45 minutes later we’d arrived at the village of Hinxworth just north of Baldock. A short stroll through the churchyard and down a footpath took us to a horse paddock where along the fence line the punk headed bird was showing very well. We watched as it hurriedly fed on grubs pulled from the ground which must’ve taken it out of it as it did fall asleep at one point. Even Matt’s daughter Robyn was impressed!

The drive home was uneventful and I arrived home before 10am only for my son to knock over my telescope/tripod and break the quick release lever 🤬. 

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Cassiobury - 22.4.22

 (LATE NEWS that I forgot to post!)

While weeding the shrub beds in the paddling pools in Cassiobury Park 2 Tree Pipit called as the flew over heading NWish. This was a new species for me in the park and the first record since around the 1970’s! Shortly after 2 Greylag Geese flew East. Only the second time I’d seen this species in the park. Not a bad morning!

Tuesday, 31 May 2022


Eleonora’s Falcon (thanks to Ashley Howe for the use of his photo)

A photo taken at Sandwich in Kent of a Hobby was posted on Twitter only for it to be re identified as an Eleonora’s Falcon. Question is would it do what all the recent sightings had done and vanish without a trace having only been seen by the finder? Thankfully no and the following morning it was seen at Worth Marshes and showed well all day. 

Saturday dawned and at 4am George and Matt joined me on he trip down. We arrived in good time and joined the throng of birders around 6am. A birder told us that the female Red-footed Falcon was on show distantly in a bush which we got onto and was my first since the male at Wilstone back in 2010. He also told us about a falcon sat in a bush by the railway also at a distance. We got on it and it looked promising. After a couple of hours a Magpie annoyed it enough to make it move and sure enough it was the 2nd year female ELEONORA’S FALCON the first ever twitchable bird to the masses. Unfortunately after 4.5 hours of watching it do nothing apart from fly from one bush to the adjacent one when a crow flushed it we had to leave and so we never saw it properly in flight. It decided to do that about 25 minutes after we left! So along with a couple of Hobby it was a 3 falcon day and Avocet was also added to the year list. 

Hemel - 8.5.22

 Sitting out in the garden hoping for my first Swift of the year was successful when 3 flew in from the west.