Sunday, 12 September 2010

MEGA - WRYNECK at Tyttenhanger - but briefly !

I was walking along the top of the bank which overlooks the sheep field and the main pit towards the 'Tree Sparrow hedge' this morning when I noticed a Common Chiffchaff in a small tree. I stopped to look, and saw a larger bird behind it at the back of the tree: it moved slightly, to show the unmistakeable head of a WRYNECK! It then moved to the next tree, perched in the open for about 5 seconds, then flew down behind the bank. This was about 9:35. I walked to the sheep field and looked up the bank, but the vegetation there is very thick and I couldn't see the area where it seemed to have gone very well. Reinforcements finally arrived, but despite 15 - 20 birders searching it had not been relocated by 12:00. This is the rarest bird I have ever found in Herts, and it is a pity that no-one else was able to enjoy it. It was also a first for Tyttenhanger, taking the site total to 193, but with only one addition last year (Glossy Ibis) and one this year it may take a while to reach 200.

There was also a Wheatear in the stubble field next to where I found the Wryneck, and Ian Bennell picked up a Hobby high over the main pit: it was later feeding low over the scrape. Martin Parr mentioned seeing a stoat chasing a rabbit: I heard the squeals of a rabbit which had definitely been caught by a stoat! (David Booth)

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