Wednesday, 2 June 2010

COMMON QUAILS but no sign of Hen Harrier


After yesterday's rain and cool temperatures, today was a glorious day, with warm sunshine, light northerly winds and clear skies. In fact, afternoon temperatures reached 70 degrees fahrenheit. With such good weather, I decided to eek out local SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS and COMMON QUAILS.........


Thanks to Ian Williams, I was able to record my first COMMON QUAIL of the year in Hertfordshire, calling fairly frequently from a cereal field 400 yards NNE of the Fishery at TQ 120 115. Ian had discovered the bird whilst taking a lunchtime break and had very kindly texted me. I arrived just after 1300 hours and heard it fairly frequently up until 1500 hours.

This area of farmland and riverine habitat was very productive with a nesting pair of BARN OWLS, nesting pair of Common Kestrels, two HOBBIES, a RED KITE, a singing male COMMON WHITETHROAT, House Martin, 3 Linnets, several European Barn Swallows, Goldfinches and a good population of House Sparrows. Butterflies on the wing included Large White and Peacock.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS: Redbournbury Mill is accessed east off of the A 5183 and has restricted parking opposite the cottages. Walk NE behind the barns and then turn left beyond the small wooden bridge over the ford and continue for 250 yards to the Fishery. At the junction, turn right and walk as far NE as the obvious dead tree, from where the Quail is easily audible.


After hearing that the returning female HEN HARRIER had been sighted again this afternoon, I made my way over to Wallington and spent two and a half hours (from 1545 to 1815 hours) searching the area. From the excellent vantage viewpoint at the top of Deadman's Hill, I scoured the valley west but despite optimum conditions, there was no sign of the Hen Harrier. Two Common Buzzards and a RED KITE were the only raptor species encountered.

A COMMON QUAIL was calling from barley to the NE of the minor road to Wallington at TL 291 368, whilst up to 12 CORN BUNTING territories were occupied and GREY PARTRIDGE and YELLOW WAGTAIL were recorded

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