Sunday, 27 June 2010

MED GULL at Amwell

This quiet day was livened up by a short, somewhat hesitant song of a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER and a 2nd-summer MEDITERRANEAN GULL flying north with Black-headed Gulls.

Best of the rest were Kingfisher, Little Egret and 2 Hobbies.

The dragonflies were well-represented with Banded Demoiselle, Common Blue, Large Red, Red-eyed, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselfly, Emperor & Hairy Dragonfly, Four-spotted & Broad-boadied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Brown Hawker (Jan Hein Steenis)

Saturday, 26 June 2010


At least two, perhaps three, COMMON QUAIL are still calling in the Sandon and Wallingford area, and can be heard on these very warm evenings of late

Summering COMMON GOLDENEYE at Troy Mill

A female COMMON GOLDENEYE is summering at Troy Mill GP, whilst nearby, 3 OYSTERCATCHERS are on the muddy pool at Lynster's Farm

First returning post-breeding migrants

In addition to a few small flocks of returning post-breeding Lapwings, Tyttenhanger Pits today saw the arrival of 6 male EURASIAN WIGEON - a very odd occurrence (Steve Blake, Ricky Flesher). The two juvenile Oystercatchers remain in the area.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Breeding successes at Hilfield Park Reservoir

On a recent survey visit to Hilfield, I was delighted to find 2 breeding pairs of BLACK-NECKED GREBE, a pair of RUDDY DUCK and 1 pair of Black-headed Gulls (LGRE).

Friday, 18 June 2010

Wallington HARRIERS

The adult female HEN HARRIER remains between Baldock and Wallingford whilst a male-type harrier perhaps MONTAGU'S was also seen in the same general area.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


3 COMMON CROSSBILLS flew into Easneye Woods at c16.20 (seen from thedragonfly trail), at least one heard calling again at 16.55. Also Marsh Tit with a Hobby and Buzzard + a selection of dragon/damselflies (including an Emperor that had been caught by a Jay) (Roy Woodward)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS around main building of St John's Senior School the Ridgeway Potters Bar this evening probably breeding in shrubs against school wall ...nice to see ..made my day! (David Martens)

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Black-headed Gulls are now regular through the summer in the Lee Valley with breeding at Rye Meads and Cheshunt. The nesting at Stockers is part of a wider trend rather than exceptional, BHG are also nesting at Hilfield Park Res this year.

At Rye Meads today there were 19 pairs of Black-headed Gull with c20 prs Common Tern, 225 Gadwall (plus 4 broods), 4 broods of Pochard and a brood of Tufted Duck. Also 3 LRP and a Green Sandpiper.

At 70 Acres Lake (Cheshunt GP) there were 2 pairs Black-headed Gulls, 28 prs Common Tern and 2 broods Gadwall (Graham White)

Tetrad work throws up isolated records of EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVES

European Turtle Dove (Dave Bilcock)
Highlights of my TTV in TL 43B (Anstey) today were a pair of Marsh Tits feeding at least two young in Scales Park, and better still a EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE which was purring and showing well at Coltsfoot (approx TL 411 321).

There was also a purring EUROPEAN TURTLE DOVE on Thursday at Wood End, (which is in the middle of nowhere between Stevenage and Buntingford) at TL 321 256. That bird was so deeply hidden in a large area of bushes that I couldn't see it (per Graham Knight).

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Non-naturalised BARNACLE GOOSE

The BARNACLE GOOSE above is present for a second day at Willows Farm Pool, Tyttenhanger, and is presumably part of the expanding and thriving non-naturalised population of this species in Britain. The photograph was taken by David Waters, as were those of the OYSTERCATCHER family below.


This is only the second confirmed breeding of OYSTERCATCHER in the county - David Waters capturing the moment at Willows Farm Pool for posterity

Monday, 7 June 2010

COMMON QUAIL still near Deadman's Hill

The two calling male COMMON QUAILS continue at the base of Deadman's Hill, to the left of the lower road to Wallington. They have been coming out in recent days on to the open tracks and providing observers with excellent views, both birds seen this evening (per Allan Stewart, Graham White and others)

SPOTTED FLY at last, and a vagrant non-naturalised BARNACLE GOOSE


The hot weather gave way to slightly cooler conditions, bringing overcast skies and later, in the evening, a band of rain from the west. The wind was in the west but fairly light.

I spent the day birding locally, mainly intent in adding Spotted Flycatcher to my Hertfordshire Yearlist. Thanks to Darin Stanley, I finally succeeded. Another high was finding a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest.......


After numerous visits, finally tracked down the nesting pair of LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS which had been frequently observed carrying food. After hearing the male announce its presence with its long piercing call and watch it disappear into a line of trees, waited for a short while and heard the distinctive, noisy call of the youngsters. The nest hole was about 20 feet up in a relatively young tree and at feeding time, as the adults disappeared into the hole, at least one baby woodpecker could be heard.

The same site also yielded 3 singing male COMMON WHITETHROATS (two of which were feeding young later), a GARDEN WARBLER, a singing male Common Chiffchaff, a nesting pair of Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Stock Doves and a singing male Greenfinch.


The largely dried up scrapes at Stockers Farm held just 1 adult Lapwing, whilst the farm buildings themselves 8 European Barn Swallows and the causeway, 2 singing male Western Reed Warblers. JT set me a quiz and the gleaming surprise was that of BREEDING Black-headed Gulls - 5 pairs in all - with one pair feeding three fledged youngsters on the raft. The rafts also accounted for 17 nesting pairs of Common Tern.


Thanks to Darin Stanley, I was finally able to add SPOTTED FLYCATCHER to my 2010 Herts Year List. A pair was nesting in the grounds of the Old Rectory, with one of the adults constantly returning to a lamp standard by the entrance and showing very well. I did not see or hear the long-staying male European Turtle Dove however, although Darin and Jo had seen it several times from the neighbouring pub garden on Sunday evening.

(1630 hours)

The OYSTERCATCHER family were still present, the two youngsters growing very well and quite independent now.

In with 11 Atlantic Canada Geese present in the grass field adjoining the pool was a single unringed adult (non-naturalised) BARNACLE GOOSE - another first for me of the Herts year.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

WOODPECKERS feeding young

The Withy Beds pair of LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS were busy feeding young today whilst in the NE of the county, the single calling male COMMON QUAIL continues at Deadman Hill

Friday, 4 June 2010


A pair of LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS is nesting at the small reserve just east of Tolpits Lane, between Rickmansworth and Watford, and with patience afford excellent views.

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