TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER
Continuing cold and dry but with little wind.
Set off at about 0900 hours to bird HERTFORDSHIRE, 4 Red Kites just to the north of ABBOTS LANGLEY being the largest congregation I have seen there.
Then got to WELWYN GARDEN CITY, where in front of the Council Offices in College Road, I and others obtained excellent views of WAXWINGS as they fed on the Pink Rowan. They were very difficult to count but the maximum I got to was 51 birds. One bird flew into a glass window and stunned itself, allowing very close approach, whilst another was so drunk on berries, it could be approached to within a couple of inches. The berry-bearing shrubs were also attracting Mistle Thrushes and Jays.
I then joined Derek Girvan and others in BRAMFIELD VILLAGE, observing from the St Andrews Churchyard at TL 292 156. There was an awful lot of standing around and during the three hours that I was present, just one adult male HAWFINCH was observed - both occasions flying in or out of the Old Rectory garden to perch briefly in the tall trees of the churchyard. It was also very nice to meet the resident birdwatcher that found them, the three birds (adult male and two females) frequently visiting the Yew in his garden to feed on berries.
The following species were also observed in Bramfield village :-
Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatches (affording superb views and allowing to be photographed), 29 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, flyover Siskin, 8 Greenfinch, 11 Chaffinch, Blue, Great & Coal Tits, 6 House Sparrows, 5+ Jays, 50+ Jackdaws, Goldfinch and 1 Goldcrest.
Had a brief look at TEWINBURY NR (TL 261 141) but virtually nothing to see - 6 Mallard, 2 Coot and a Little Egret on the River Mimram. Nearby, at LEMSFORD SPRINGS NR (TL223 122), the cressbeds held 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS, 4 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and a Grey Wagtail, along with Green Woodpecker, 10 Common Magpies, Red Kite, Song Thrush and Wren in the adjoining field.
I then checked STANBOROUGH PARK (TL 229 112), where the North Lake held 5 Mute Swans, 54 Mallard, 4 Coot and 8 Moorhen and the South Lake just 2 Great Crested Grebes.
Last stop of the day was in AYLESBURY (BUCKS), at the GATEHOUSE LANE TRADING ESTATE (SP 806 144), where with Paul Keene and his dog warden friend Ann, we recorded 66 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS. Sadly, one first-winter had been injured just below and behind the eye and was bleeding and was busily feeding on its own. It allowed me to approach it to within a couple of feet and was still quite perky but did remain in the Rowan tree until dusk. Strangely, the remaining flock of 65 all flew in calling late afternoon as if to encourage the bird to join them to roost. They then all flew off towards Fairford Leys.