Thursday, 31 May 2012

LGRE is back

In the three weeks I have been away, the following highlights were recorded -:

A TURNSTONE at Hilfield on 18 May; 3 BLACK TERNS at Amwell on 20 May and a singleton at Wilstone Reservoir; a reeling SAVI'S WARBLER at Wilstone on 20-21 May (Ian Williams et al and seen by Warren Claydon and Stuart Wilson); a flock of 4 COMMON SCOTERS (2 pairs) at Amwell all day on 22 May; a HONEY BUZZARD north over Wormley West End on 22 May (Graham White) and a fabulous singing male WOOD WARBLER in Birches at Frogmore Lakes CP, Radlett, from 24-29 May.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

WHITE STORK still in the county

Just been watching a WHITE STORK over Hitchin, 12.30 approx. My house on the SW edge of Letchworth gives a good view over Hichin. I was first attracted by a large bird thermalling high over Hitchin, then getting better views with my scope from my bedroom window the bird proved to be a Common Buzzard; a second then came into view and both slowly moved off north. After a few minutes scanning with my bins I picked up another bird comming in high from the South, 'scoping confirmed my initial thoughts that it was a White Stork I watched it for about 20mins; for a while it came down to tree top height over the houses on the NW side of the town and must have given good views, it finally circled up and went out of my view to the South.

Roger Millard

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Great to be back out in the field again

Having been laid up and out of action for some time, it was great to be able to get back in the field today - after an absence of about ten days. Following a call from Steve Blake, it was Tyttenhanger my first port of call and a nice migrant adult KITTIWAKE.

The weather has continued to do us no favours, today seeing more of the same - bouts of torrential rain broken up by the odd spell of sunshine. Still feeling cold too, with a fresh WNW wind blowing


Helped by Steve Blake's directions, I managed to locate the adult summer KITTIWAKE from the woodyard end of the pit, sheltering from the wind in the secluded Willow-strewn bay at the west end. It was washing and bathing and quite active, eventually flying off out of view at 1230 hours. It was a full breeding-plumaged adult, with an all-white head, all green bill, dark grey back and all black outer wing-tips. The inner primaries were much whiter, contrasting strongly with the black tips, with the secondaries and coverts being differently shaded. The rest of the plumage, including the tail, uppertail coverts and rump, were clean white.

Otherwise, typically quiet, with 2 argenteus Herring Gulls, an adult Lesser Black-backed, pair of Gadwall, Common Redshank, 170 House Martins, Western Reed Warbler and Common Whitethroat.


After Mike Ilett texted me early morning with a pair of Turtle Doves in the east of the county, this was to be my next domain. Although the weather was largely inclement during my two hour visit, I could find no sight nor sign of them - completely blank. The area of suitable farmland and scrubland opposite the Knoll house did yield 2 pairs of GREY PARTRIDGES, a male YELLOW WAGTAIL, a singing male WILLOW WARBLER, numerous Skylarks, 2 pairs of Meadow Pipits and a WEASEL.

I did a tour of suitable peafields in the vicinity but failed to locate any trips of Dotterel - sadly a thing of the past nowadays.


I fared much better with Mike's information in Wallington hamlet where I quickly located the displaying pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS - my first in the county this year. They were frequenting the beautiful garden at the corner of The Street/Kits Lane, in fact George Orwell's former property.


In the vicinity of the pool in the SE corner of the gravel workings, I noted 3 MANDARIN DUCKS (2 drakes), Coots nesting, Stock Dove, 2 COMMON CUCKOOS, several Common Swifts and a male Common Whitethroat but pride of place went to the 8 HOBBIES lingering at the water, most of which were stood forlorn on the fenceposts (it was heavy rain, thunder and lightning for much of the time I was there).

Park in Symondshyde Lane and view west from the perimeter fence.

Good birding always

Lee Evans

Monday, 14 May 2012

WHITE STORK and OSPREY over Tyttenhanger

A fantastic morning at Tyttenhanger! Saturday 12 May

As per usual on Saturday,s I had arranged to meet Ricky Flesher at the viewpoint overlooking the main pit at 7:30am. I parked at the water works and was slowly making my way toward the main pit checking the sheep fields as I went, I could see in the distance that Ricky had already arrived.

As I was scanning the fields my phone rang - "Ricky Flesher" - I knew instantly that he must be onto something good. OSPREY was the shout, and after a little guidance from him , I saw it making its way over Garden Wood being mobbed by two LBB Gulls. We scoped it until it was lost to view south west.

We then relocated to the viewpoint on the east bank. There was not much to see on the main sand spit and I was just saying that, "at this time last year we had seen a Marsh Harrier". Then, unbelievably, another shout from Ricky - b***dy hell! that,s a WHITE STORK. Sure enough, over the trees of Garden Wood, there it was spiraling and turning quite low, I estimated it to be over the Willows Farm end of the fishing lakes - and better still, coming our way! Unfortunately it started to thermal upward and we watched it as a little dot going W - SW.

An amusing story was that we had seen a birder in the distance and were frantically gesturing to him that we had something in the air. The birder was Gordon Cox and he had his young grandson with him. We got Gordon onto the Stork, and although he was mightily pleased - he said that we had just cost him £50!!

Apparently his grandson told him he had just seen a White Stork - Gordon said NEVER - NOT HERE - if it is I will give you 50 quid!! up Gordon!!!

Steve Blake

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bank Holiday Weekend Highlights

Amwell was the place to be with the first-summer drake RED-BREASTED MERGANSER remaining throughout on the private Sheepcote Farm Fishing Pit immediately north of the access track to the railway crossing. There is only one very narrow window of opportunity to view this pit along this entrance road and every now and again the merganser comes into view. Up to 3 different BLACK TERNS visited the site over the weekend, with the singing male COMMON NIGHTINGALE showing well on occasions and the GRASSHOPPER WARBLER reeling sporadically.

At Tyttenhanger GP, a BAR-TAILED GODWIT and WHIMBREL remained on 5th-6th (Simon West, Steve Blake), whilst WHINCHATS included 2 at Croxley Common Moor (Martin Parr) and up to 3 at Hatfield Aerodrome.

On 7th May, 7 WHIMBREL flew over Moneyhill, Rickmansworth (Steve Younger) whist today, Francis Buckle watched an OSPREY fly south over Amwell Watchpoint.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Amwell pulls in the migrants

At Amwell Nature Reserve today, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, BLACK TERN and COMMON NIGHTINGALE were recorded (per Bill Last), with a female WHINCHAT feeding along the small flooded ditch at TL 336 137 at Park Mead (Simon Knott). Darrel Bryant found another WHINCHAT at Norton Green, with a TURTLE DOVE north through there at 0920.

A single BAR-TAILED GODWIT and BLACK-TAILED GODWIT were present together on Startop's End Reservoir for a couple of hours during the afternoon (Ian Williams)

Thursday, 3 May 2012


A flock of 18 BAR-TAILED GODWITS flew NE over Rye Meads RSPB at 0900 hours this morning, with a BLACK TERN at Amwell and a WHIMBREL at Hilfield. The female WHINCHAT remains at Croxley Common Moor.

WHINCHAT at Croxley Common

One present on Wednesday 02 May

Tuesday 01 May

Steve Murray had a WHIMBREL at Tyttenhanger Main Pit