Monday, 13 September 2010

Hemel Hempstead area over weekend

I took a couple of hours on both Saturday & Sunday having a look in case any migrants had decided to stop off at a rough field bordered by bushes & trees I'd seen from the dual carriage-way in Hemel. It's a disused recreation/sports ground of a factory that used to be there, it's only 200m x 200m & about 1km from my house on the North side of Breakspear Way & East of Maylands Avenue.

Anyway... a brief summary of the highlights.

Female COMMON REDSTART calling from a small tree on W side flew to the hedgerow at E corner.
A beautiful Male COMMON REDSTART calling & feeding under a bush on concrete on W side.
At least 1 MEADOW PIPIT.
An abundance of COMMON DARTERS in E corner.
At least 4 CHIFFCHAFFS calling nearby on Boundary Way / Buncefield Lane.
Nearby on Hogg End Lane / Green Lane a flock of 136 LINNETS & another of at least 81 LINNETS appeared to be two different parties.
I also watched one of a couple of HAWKERS attempting to catch SPECKLED WOODS in the air behing Holiday Inn.
Atleast 58 BLUE TITS passed through/over my garden in 2 minutes in the morning & thats just the ones I could see, who knows how many passed before I went outside!

A NORTHERN WHEATEAR moved about the field. [I'm not sure of age/sex because (looking at the photos) when sat up in bright sunlight (pic1) it looked a perfect 1st Winter, but when seen out of the glare (pic2&3) it was actually rufous-buff right down to it's under-tail coverts like a Greenlander, seemed to have too much white on it's forehead & in front of it's eye, & a very prominent moustachial stripe. Any help with full ID would be greatly appreciated.]
2 MEADOW PIPITS stayed the whole time
No Redstarts but in the male's bush from yesterday were 2 CHIFFCHAFFS & a WILLOW WARBLER.
A nice surprise was a presumed passage migrant, stunning male COMMON WHITETHROAT in the NW corner.

Dan Forder

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