Friday, 28 June 2013


After missing out on a breeding pair of TREE SPARROWS that Steve Blake had found at Tyttenhanger GP, I eventually had to resort to visiting a private study area in the county to see this diminishing species. The Hertfordshire Bird Club have been involved in a long study on Tree Sparrows in a restricted area of countryside embracing their beloved Ash trees, hedgerows and water. The birds have been colour-ringed and have been throwing up some very interesting results (eg, one juvenile found later in autumn on an offshore North Sea oil rig and an adult - now breeding - from a Yorkshire colony). Anyhow, I visited this week and was delighted to see 28 of these rare birds, including 18 juveniles from this year's first broods...

The study area, incorporating 7 or 8 mature and healthy Ash trees and a small lake - optimum conditions for a Tree Sparrow colony

The study area feeding station where up to £120 of seed is consumed per annum

The main breeding colony; up to 25 nestboxes are on site and this year, at least 5 are occupied. The first broods have already fledged (18 individuals) with the second now fully underway. Three broods are typical, with a potential 54 'new' birds this year

And the TREE SPARROWS themselves

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

It's Summer

Not much happening in way of migration now (although Saturday's WOOD SANDPIPER at Amwell bucked the trend) but at least 2 calling QUAILS still at Redbournbury and 25 or more BLACK-NECKED GREBES at Hilfield Park Reservoir. Still no Turtle Doves or Common Nightingales reported, and no reliable Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers this year. Common Cuckoos now seem to have returned south whilst the first Green Sandpipers have returned from Scandinavia, with 4 recently at Tyttenhanger and 2 at Lemsford Springs.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

WOOD SAND at Amwell

After missing the last bird in May, was very pleased to connect with a moulting adult WOOD SANDPIPER at Amwell NR last Saturday night, showing well at dusk in front of the lower watchpoint; it had been found earlier in the afternoon

Friday, 21 June 2013

QUAIL at Redbournbury

Graham Higgins and I connected with the COMMON QUAIL today as it called repeatedly from midday to 1215 hours in the barley field between the two lanes

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Still no Tree Sparrow nor Quail

Dipped yet again on Tree Sparrow today and from 1900-2100 hours, Allan Stewart and I checked out Hill Farm Lane, Redbournbury, where Ernest Leahy had earlier reported hearing a Common Quail - no sight nor sound this evening but at least 8 pairs of YELLOW WAGTAILS in the Barley crops, a Red Kite, Common Buzzard, male Common Kestrel, Common Whitethroat and singing Skylarks.

Some shots I took this evening in fading light.........

A RED KITE roosting distantly on a far tree (top right)

At 90X

At 120x

At 150x

Singing male Yellowhammer towards dusk

Who is this man loitering in a field?

And sunset

Friday, 7 June 2013

SPOT FLYS = my first of the year in Herts

Busy building a nest in East Herts.......