Thursday, 28 April 2011

HOBBIES: 7 today

At least 7 Hobbies and 1 male Kestrel, hawking Mayflies/St Mark's flies over Sutton's Pit between 12.45 and 1.00pm today - fabulous stuff ! - plus male Mandarin, Mallard, pair of Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe. Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat singing from Woodcock Hill lane. Best views from the gap in the hedge on Cooper's Green Lane just NE of the Woodcock Hill junction (Pete Waldron)

Ayot St Lawrence TURTLE DOVE back and TREE PIPIT in Ashridge

The EURASIAN TURTLE DOVE was back in Ayot St Lawrence this morning. It was on the weather vane on top of the Brocket Arms, and then flew to the chimney of the house next door (not the Old Rectory, the house on the other side). It was interesting to see how its throat puffs out when it 'purrs' (David Booth)

Meanwhile, Ian Bennell located an extremely elusive and skulking TREE PIPIT in Ashridge Forest - in the area of the two Monument Drive ponds. The bird gave itself up briefly for Dave Bilcock, Francis Buckle, Mike Campbell and Graham Knight but then went to ground. I spent the best part of two hours there this afternoon with no joy (LGRE)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

HOBBIES at Coopers Lane GP

At least five HOBBIES there this afternoon as well as a couple of drake Mandarin and a pair of Lapwings. There has clearly been a significant hatch of damselflies recently. The views are excellent as the birds come quite close at times.There is a lot of bare ground around the pit which could easily attract something unusual so it is definitely a spot worth a visit (Alan Gardiner)

The Ashridge WOOD WARBLER - Ian Williams

ARCTIC TERNS on the move


The wind veered more Northeasterly this morning and as a result, ARCTIC TERN passage began across the Midlands and East Anglia. It was very cold this morning but warmed up slightly this afternoon when the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly.


Two 'new' singing COMMON WHITETHROATS found this afternoon, both within 100 yards of each other close to the sharp bend at the north end of Flaunden Bottom (at TL 007 007). It has been an exceptional year for this species so far and looks set to be a record year in my Recording Area.

(evening visit, with Geoff Young & brother, Ian Williams, Chaz Jackson, Jenny Wallington, Sue Rowe, Dave Bilcock, Paul Eels, Kevin Holt and others)

With a switch to moderate Northeasterlies, ARCTIC TERNS were the order of the day with 9 present this evening (DB et al); also a pair of breeding-plumaged BLACK TERNS and 52 Common Terns. In fact it was a bit of an 'Arctic Tern Workshop' as I tried my best to explain the subtle differences between the two species. Although many of the Arctic Terns were far from fully developed into breeding plumage, with split or uneven tail streamers, separation was best explained by the grey underparts (particularly the breast), very short and darker red legs when perched on the algae bunds), strong contrast between the white trailing edge and darker grey upperwings in flight, much narrower wings and more agile and graceful flight pattern and mostly all red bill (although some Arctics did have black towards the tip). Intriguingly, the two BLACK TERNS were a pair and displaying at times.

Apart from the terns, very little of note: 40+ COMMON SWIFTS high in the sky and a male YELLOW WAGTAIL that flew NE across the reservoir

**Additional Note: I have uploaded several shots of the recent Ashridge Forest WOOD WARBLER on my Tringbirding blog taken by Ian Williams - they are excellent

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A major arrival of COMMON SWIFTS and HOBBIES


A major change in weather conditions. After record-breaking temperatures in the past two weeks and an extensive ridge of high pressure centred over the UK, a NNE wind changed all that today pegging the temperatures back by at least 15 degrees C and bringing grey skies and considerably colder weather.

Such weather is always productive for hirundines (and normally Arctic Terns) and today was no exception, with the first arrival of COMMON SWIFTS to our area and an upsurge in HOUSE MARTINS......

(1200-1318 hours)

New for me were both HOBBY and COMMON SWIFT, with three of the former chasing the few flying insects back and forth over the Drayton Hide, Drayton Bank and main reedbed and at least 18 of the latter high over the reservoir with the martins and swallows.

The reservoir itself typically held few birds for late April: 14 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Mute Swans, 3 remaining Eurasian Wigeon (2 drakes), 42 Tufted Duck and 8 Northern Pochards. Meanwhile, Common Terns numbered at least 130 with 25 or more eeking out space on the main raft.

A single YELLOW WAGTAIL was on the North Bank, with hirundines represented by 250+ Sand Martin, 44 Barn Swallows and 26 House Martin, with a singing male Common Chiffchaff in the hedgerow by the new outfall and 3 male Common Whitethroats between the car park and the Drayton corner.

Several Red Kite were overflying the area


The big change here was the number of hirundines flying about - and more exceptionally the 40 COMMON SWIFTS. There was a major influx of HOUSE MARTINS (50+) whilst Sand Martins numbered at least 250 and Barn Swallows 35 or more.

The cold wind deterred the Gropper from reeling in the reedbed but 8= Western Reed Warblers were singing, as well as a male Reed Bunting.


This reserve goes from strength to strength and really has benefited from BBOWT's investment and plans to hallmark it as their premier location. Despite the cold wind, there was plenty to see, especially on the main marsh.

A pair of Great Crested Grebe is now present on the deep pit, with a pair of Mute Swans on the marsh, a pair of Gadwall, 4 Shoveler (3 drakes), 19 Tufted Duck and the continuing pair of COMMON SHELDUCK.

Three families of Lapwing were apparent (adults with 3, 2 & 2 young), the babies being sheltered from the blasting wind, with 6 Common Redshank and a pair of LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS. Two COMMON SANDPIPERS were migrants.

Two Common Terns were investigating the raft, whilst a COMMON CUCKOO was calling from the adjacent Fen, a Common Chiffchaff singing and hirundines again well represented, with 46+ House Martins, 70+ Sand Martins and 15 Barn Swallows.

Pitstone Quarry harboured just 1 lonely Mute Swan.


Moving on to Bedfordshire from 1530-1617 hours, county additions included a single COMMON SWIFT and a flock of at least 6 HOBBIES hawking over the railway Poplars.

The drake GARGANEY was still present, as well as the adult ICELANDIC BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, plus a pair of Common Teal, just 1 Common Redshank, 12 Common Terns and a COMMON CUCKOO. Again, bumper numbers of hirundines, with 35 House Martins along the west bank, 100+ Sand Martins and several Barn Swallows. A single male Lesser Whitethroat was rattling.

With the pit still draining, three Great Crested Grebe nests and equal numbers of Coots are being left stranded.


From 1700-1730 hours, I savoured the delights of Geoff Dawes' WAXWING flock. There were 84 birds in all - the great majority young birds - all roosting in a single flowering Sycamore adjacent to Sandhouse Lane literally just yards off of the main A5 trunk road at SP 936 300. The flock were extremely vocal - with several adults in full breeding plumage - and were commuting to a Wild Cherry tree to feed.

This same piece of roadside scrub also yielded a male Lesser Whitethroat, male Blackcap and male Willow Warbler

Whilst on site, I received an emergency call-out as a 33-ton Tesco HGV had managed to hit the southbound A5 Thorn Turn roundabout and completely overturn. As a result, the route to Dunstable was completely closed. Within seven minutes, I was on site - the driver being very shaken but fortunately only with minor lacerations to his face and arms. As a major arterial route, traffic soon built up in every direction and I had to temporarily divert traffic away from the scene whilst several Fire Engines and other emergency vehicles raced to the scene.

The first I heard of the PURPLE HERON was when Darren Thomas pulled up alongside me as I was directing and shouted ''Have You Heard''. I couldn't believe it - I had only just left the site some 45 minutes earlier..........


I eventually managed to get away from Thorn Turn at 1900 hours and arrived at Stewartby Lake shortly after 20 or so Beds birders had seen the bird in flight. Martin Palmer had discovered the bird in Rookery Pit South at 1750 hours (whilst he was with Keith Owen) and after a short while it had flown and then come down in the adjacent North Pit (or the small reed-fringed pool between the two). Thankfully, MJP and Steve Blain had kept onto it as it had completed a full circuit of Stewartby Lake proper and had returned back to North Pit.

At 1920 hours, I noticed it rise from the reeds on North Pit and take flight. It flew left and low over the remaining reeds and then veered back. In the frenzy that ensued, Andy Graham demanded my bins (he had left his at home) and I switched to the 'scope, through which I was to obtain excellent views as it spent the next 3-4 minutes in flight, eventually disappearing low over the railway and Rookery Pit into Lagoon 9 of the Millenium Park. The bird was clearly a first-summer with retained brown flight feathers (coverts, scapulars, secondaries), brownish crown and brown mantle feathers. The distinctive flight silhouette was apparent (marked kink in neck, long slender bill and long legs and toes), with its pale somewhat yellowish legs, heavily striped neck, contrasting pale creamy throat and lack of upperpart contrast being diagnostic. Furthermore, that strange body movement as the wings flap was noticeably apparent, these fidgety movements characterising this species from Grey Heron. I was well and truly chuffed - as so were Bob & Lol, Richard Bashford, Andy, Darren, Tony Donnelly, Dave Odell, Tim Robson, Andy Plumb, Jim Gurney, Pip Housden, Allan Cutts, Dave Ball, Martin Stevens, John Bowler and the many others that had gathered at the entrance gates.

Purple Heron is a local mega in Bedfordshire with just five previous records -:

1) A juvenile at Felmersham GP from 10-16 September 1955 (Beds Naturalist 10: 29-30)

2) A probable adult at Dunstable Sewage Farm on 16 and 18 May 1958 (Beds Naturalist 13: 37)

3) A juvenile at Wyboston GP from 10 August to 10 September 1966 (British Birds 60: 312)

4) An adult was shot at Caddington in August 1973 (British Birds 67: 314)

5) One was seen in Luton Hoo Estate on 4 September 1977 (British Birds 71: 490)

I departed shortly later after it flew to the Millenium Park but Neil Wright and Steve Blain intercepted it there and enjoyed a minute's worth of view of it on the deck before it once more flew and returned back to Rookery South.

On my way home, a HOBBY flew over the Steppingly crossroads at 1948

Another eventful day

Luke Massey - remember that name

For a while, I mistakenly wasted considerable time replying to emails from this so-called intrepid bird photographer - as I believed he was about to follow in the wake of up-and-coming birder Dan Forder. How wrong could I have been?

It turned out in reality that once within a certain 'inner circle' of selfish local birdwatchers centring on the St Albans/Welwyn area, he was able to see some of their birds and withhold them from the rest of the Hertfordshire Brding Community. Not only that, once enjoying a stunning male Ring Ouzel at Beech Farm - a very rare bird locally - he would flaunt it in the face of others by showing off his record shots of the bird on the Hertfordshire Bird Club website.

So, if you are into keeping birds quiet and denying others the enjoyment of watching them, remember the name Luke Massey so you can contact him. It's funny how quick him and his entourage were at chasing a Short-eared Owl round at Wallington less than a week later. He is yet another one of those so-called amateur photographers who wants to get closer to every bird, setting up hides all over in his attempt.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend Highlights

A male WOOD WARBLER was singing from Silver Birch and Oak woodland just east of Clinkmere Pond at the far end of Monument Drive from Saturday afternoon to very early this morning, the first long-stayer there for several years. It was singing frequently and showing well at times and was very mobile, moving between both counties. A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was also in the vicinity.

In East Herts, a SHORT-EARED OWL was also notable - being the first and only individual of this species in the county this year - it was showing both early and late in fields either side of the Wallington road just as the road starts climbing up the hill (Mike Ilett, Mick Frosdick, et al)

Other than that, little to report - the highlight at Wilstone being an adult LITTLE GULL, a single BLACK TERN and the reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER

Lee Evans

Good Friday - GREENLAND WHEATEARS at Trims Green

Trims Green (13:00 hours)

1 Meadow Pipit

All consorting and flycatching in the crops at TL468167.

(Mike Harris)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

RING OUZELS at Hatfield Aerodrome

Luke Massey was selfishly told to suppress a male RING OUZEL at Hatfield Aerodrome on Sunday 17 April by the finder for reasons so far unknown. Thankfully, Luke posted an image of the bird on the HBC website and the news eventually got out. Even better, the bird and another male are both present today and showing well - both Steve Blake and Mick Frosdick connecting with them this evening.

Alan Gardiner has very kindly provided this essential access information

''From the confirmation of the location that Luke Massey has provided, the grid reference is TL199 086. There are bare areas of ground and earth banks in that general area which was very wet in the early part of the year.

Those of you who have been there in the past might remember the aircraft fuselage that was there which used to provide a perch for Little Owls. It must have been removed about 6 years ago at least.

The big hedgerow that runs along the area is always worth a look as it can hold Redstart as well as being the usual place that Ring Ouzels seem to frequent''


GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling this morning. Other warblers present include 33 singing Sedge Warblers, 15 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warblers and Willow Warbler. Also, Green Sandpiper back on the usual pool on Park Mead.

Simon Knott

Wednesday, 20 April 2011



Another day of high pressure and exceptional temperatures - almost 20 degrees higher than average for this time of year at an incredible 79 degrees fahrenheit. The wind remained in the Southeast too - still bringing in large numbers of common migrants and the odd rare.........


This evening (1818 hours at least), the adult summer BLACK TERN was still traversing both the Bucks and Herts sections of Startop's End Reservoir, often resting on the algae bunds for long periods. A procession of birders came and went including John Gooders and his partner, Chaz Jackson, DB, JON and SR. The gleaming white undertail-coverts heavily contrasted with the black plumage - the bird constituting a year tick for me on both counts.

The drake RED-CRESTED POCHARD was out feeding, the pair of Great Crested Grebes was still there, 32 Tufted Ducks and 3 Coots attempting to build nests on the bunds.; also 20 Common Terns


Very quiet when I popped in - just 28 Common Terns. Steve had located 1 of Roy's 6 Northern Wheatears in the Dry Canal field.


I failed to hear the reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER during my visit but Dave B did hear it much later in the evening at the back of the reedbed. The CETTI'S WARBLER sang frequently and there were at least 8 singing WESTERN REED WARBLERS and 4 SEDGE WARBLERS.

Both GREY WAGTAIL and Mistle Thrush were nesting in the vicinity (carrying food back to nests), a male Goldcrest was in song in the 'wood' and Charlie and I counted 1 male YELLOW WAGTAIL in with 12 Pied Wagtails in the horse fields across the canal.

Most pleasing was the presence of a displaying pair of LAPWING south of Marsworth Reservoir.


There was no sign of any Ring Ouzels in the Sheep Field this evening (Ben and Steve had seen two males early this morning) but there were a pair of GREENLAND WHEATEARS - my earliest ever at this location.

Top Scrub and environs held 9 singing WILLOW WARBLERS, 15+ Blackcaps and 2 male Common Whitethroats, as well as 4 singing male Song Thrushes but neither of today's Lesser Whitethroats were rattling this evening.

(Dusk visit from 2000-2030 hours)

Both COMMON CUCKOO and GRASSHOPPER WARBLER added to my Herts Year List - both present at the far west end of the common and the latter showing very well and reeling continuously just 35 yards in from the river and 100 yards beyond the bench by the bend, some 450 yards west of the entrance. Very easy to hear once within 100 yards of earshot.

Also 3 singing WESTERN REED WARBLERS by the river and at least 6 singing COMMON WHITETHROATS


Hilfield Reservoir resident birdwatcher Steve Murray phoned Mrs Joan Thompson at 1743 hours this evening to say that he had just watched a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER fly NW over Tyttenhanger GP. I raced up to the Chiltern escarpment at Ivinghoe but expectantly failed to intercept it (LGRE)

Mr Murray has had a good week leaving his beloved Hilfield - having found the pair of Garganey at Tyttenhanger on Sunday

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

RUFF at Tyttenhanger

The pair of GARGANEY were still present on the main pit at 7.15pm this evening as well as a RUFF, 2 LRP, Common Shelduck and Little Egret (per Steve Blake)

GARGANEY pair still at Tyttenhanger

The pair of GARGANEY remain at Tyttenhanger Main Pit (Steve Blake)


An immature male RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was at Amwell NR this morning from about 6.15 until about 7 am, when it flew off south. Also 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (Barry Reed).

Monday, 18 April 2011


COMMON NIGHTINGALE singing near the railway line this morning viewable from the towpath (per Phil Ball) but not seen or heard at midday. Also 1 GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling from the viewpoint (Mike Ilett).

Meanwhile, at Tyttenhanger Main Pit, the GARGANEY pair were still present (Steve Blake et al)

GARGANEYS at Tyttenhanger

A pair of GARGANEY was present at the main pit at Tyttenhanger on Sunday (17 April) keeping close to the bank where they were feeding on emergent vegetation (Steve Blake, LGRE, Ian Bennell and others). A male GARDEN WARBLER singing by the entrance was early, whilst 4 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS were present on the spit (LGRE).

Meanwhile, a reeling GRASSHOPPER WARBLER was heard at Croxley Commom Moor (Martin Parr) and several COMMON CUCKOOS were recorded at a number of locations

Saturday, 16 April 2011

LITTLE GULL at Aldenham

15/4: A walk after work up to Aldenham CP near Elstree produced a single LITTLE GULL over the lake with up to 12 Common Terns. I saw the gull on my arrival at 19:05 and it was still hawking insects at 19:35 (Jonathan Wasse)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Another wave of NORTHERN WHEATEARS at Norton Green

Local birder Darrel Bryant had 10 NORTHERN WHEATEARS on the main plateau at Norton Green, Stevenage, this morning

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Exceptionally early WHINCHAT and nest-building LESSER SPOTS


Well, following a number of April days breaking all previous records to 1892, cooler NW winds set in overnight bringing a much fresher feel to the weather. In fact, temperatures returned to near normal at this time of year, ranging between 8 and 11 degrees C. It did remain fine and dry however.

After an abortive attempt at the Arundel WWT Little Crake all day yesterday, I decided to concentrate closer to home today and birded the Three Counties. It was a very productive day.......


Following a very early morning call from JT, I woke up and made my way over to Croxley. Following recent days basking in warm sunlight, today was the complete opposite and I was freezing. Luckily I intercepted Geoff Lapworth who was just about to leave who very kindly directed me to his find - an absolutely gorgeous male WHINCHAT showing well on wispy weedy fronds at the far west end of the model aircraft flying area just off of the main central path. I enjoyed excellent views of this first of the year and one of my earliest spring Whinchats in Britain ever. In fact, that has been very much the story of the last six days overall - some incredulous records involving early migrants, many breaking all previous records...

After getting my fill of the Whinchat, I explored the remaining area of the moor, with 5 COMMON WHITETHROATS noted, 2 WILLOW WARBLERS, a Common Chiffchaff, several Blackcaps and along the riverside, a single SEDGE WARBLER and an early singing male WESTERN REED WARBLER (about 220 yards west of the main bridge); 1-2 Common Terns were fishing back and forth along the canal. I departed at 0915....


I love visiting this tiny reserve and today I was most pleased to find the resident pair of LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS again. Last June, I located the nest just as the single youngster (or last) was leaving but today I watched the pair finishing off the last bit of excavating their new hole - situated just 75 yards from last year's nest. The two birds partook in much display, the male 'dancing' around the female and holding his wings in an umbrella shape and quivering. They also frequently commuted back and forth to two tall dead trees just inside of the fence and adjacent to the open common - a superb display which went on for the best part of 40 minutes. I let RBA know of their showing and during the next half hour, Chris Sharpe arrived and managed to see the female before both birds flew off into the wood and along the river.

A male COMMON WHITETHROAT was on territory by the first bridge and other species encountered included Stock Dove (4 nesting pairs), Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren (4 songsters), Dunnock (2 singing males), Robin (2), Common Blackbird, Reed Bunting (singing male), Greenfinch (singing male), Blackcap (6), Common Chiffchaff (2), Common Kestrel (pair nesting), Common Buzzard, Barn Swallow (1 through), Common Treecreeper (pair), Nuthatch (singing male), Great Tit, Blue Tit (4) and Woodpigeon.

I departed the site shortly after 1000 hours.....

(1030-1045 hours)

A bare minimum 14 (7 pairs) BLACK-NECKED GREBES were encountered, the majority in full breeding plumage and 8 of which were showing exceptionally from the public viewpoint accessed from the lane.

Also seen were Little Grebe (5 pairs), Great Crested Grebe (4 pairs), Gadwall (pair), Lesser Black-backed Gull (pair on raft), 8 Common Terns, 8 Barn Swallows, 7 House Martins (including 5 over Elstree Aerodrome), 25 Sand Martins and singing male Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap.


Joined Steve Rodwell on the North Bank this evening. Highlight was a COMMON SANDPIPER on the algae bunds, apparently present for its second day (my first), with 58 Common Terns, at least 600 Sand Martins and 1 House Martin as back up. The ploughed field immediately south of the Dry Canal yielded 2 Stock Doves, 2 male Pied Wagtails and 2 NORTHERN WHEATEARS.


Three Coot nests are now being utilised with 4 pairs of Great Crested Grebes present (1 pair nest-building). A Common Kingfisher was seen, with a male COMMON TREECREEPER in full song in the Reedbed Wood and singing SEDGE WARBLER (four males), WESTERN REED WARBLER (single) and CETTI'S WARBLER (single).

Lee G R Evans

Monday, 11 April 2011


In addition to a staggering 24 BLACK-NECKED GREBES at Hilfield this evening (Sunday), a male COMMON REDSTART was showing well by Page's Farm at the south end of the hedgerow behind the public viewing platform (Allan Stewart)

Sunday Morning: another wave of SANDWICH TERNS

Four SANDWICH TERNS visited Wilstone Reservoir this morning for about 20 minutes before flying off east (David Bilcock)

I arrived at the north corner of the main pit at Tyttenhanger just after another birder, who was looking at a SANDWICH TERN on the spit! However, it flew off east a couple of minutes later, at about 8:45. It took me over 24 years to see my first Sandwich Tern in Herts, and now I see two in a week!

There were also a Ringed Plover and a Common Tern on the spit - the latter did not move all morning, just as it had done on Friday. The first Western Reed Warbler of the year for Tyttenhanger sang briefly by the causeway, and Common Whitethroats numbers were up to 3 (David Booth)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Tyttenhanger today - Simon West

I had a walk round Tyttenhanger this afternoon between 1.45 and 5.30 p.m. The highlights were 2m and 1f Wheatear in the rough field by Willows Farm car park, 1 White Wagtail on the Main Pit spit with 3 Common Redshanks, 1 Red Kite by Tyttenhanger Farm, 2 Tree Sparrows by the Colney Heath horse paddocks and a Willow Warbler by pylon corner.

As I walked along the river towards Willows Farm from the Main Pit 2 birds flew into the trees opposite the Fishing Lake c200yds before the farm. To my amazement they were 2 HAWFINCHES. They were only present for a minute or so before flying off.

I have attached a few pictures I took during my walk.

The White-cheeked Pintail was still present but too distant for pictures.

Simon West

HAWFINCHES at Tyttenhanger !

Two HAWFINCHES in trees briefly by river c200yds upstream from Willows Farm at 1715 (Simon West)



There were 4 NORTHERN WHEATEARS at Norton Green this morning, as well as 1 Red Kite, 5 Common Buzzards and 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawks (Darrel Bryant)

Monday, 4 April 2011

LESSER SPOT in Cassiobury

Ian Bennell watched a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER in the meadow area in Cassiobury Park drumming like mad and showing well on the top of the dead tree on the right hand side. From the car park walk to the river and cross the green bridge next to the bin and nature reserve sign. Also pair of Mandarin Duck still on the river just south of the bridge.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

WHEATEARS at Tyttenhanger

11:30 today: 2 male and 2 female Wheatears on soil ridges in the field at the end of Willows Farm car park; viewable from halfway along the fenced footpath. One male and one female in the sheep field. Also a Sand Martin over the main pit and 4 Redshank there (per Terry of HBC)

Friday, 1 April 2011

WAXWINGS in Rothamsted

The flock of 43 Waxwings has again returned to the trees surrounding the ornamental ponds outside the conference centre, just off the main entrance road of the Rothamsted Estate, Harpenden, giving excellent views. Yesterday they remained until 5.30, so I expect they will be around all day again while berries last...Jason Chapman