Monday, 28 January 2013

Waxwings Hemel

A quick visit to Hemel Hempstead before work today. On the corner of Lower Yott and Windmill Road c12 Waxwings. I first viewed the birds from the car but this was straight into the sun. I moved to a position with the sun behind me and started to take some pics. However, a van drove past and flushed the Waxwings. I waited for about 20 minutes but they did not return. Then it was time for work.
Dodgy pic below.

No Fudge

Sunday 27th Jan 2013. Brendan and myself headed for Priory Country Park in Beds. Our target a Ferruginous Duck. Shortly after arrival we were told it had flown off over an hour ago. Oh dear never mind. From here we headed over to Amwell hoping to see the Caspian Gull as it came into roost. We waited until 16:25 but couldn't wait any longer as I had to be back home for 17:00. So no luck again. After we left a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was reported. Oh dear times 2/3.
Brendan returned early this morning and saw the Glaucous Gull fly low and close to the watchpoint at 07:29. He has also connected with Bittern and Water Rail.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Amwell, Therfield, Stockers, Moor Green, Staines Moor.

A quite fragmented days birding with Paul. We started off at Amwell, here we were hoping to catch up with the Caspian Gull that regularly roosts there, however, although we arrived quite early it was knowhere to be seen. We did manage to see Mandarin (3) sleeping under a willow on the far bank. With time a bit limited as i had to take the boss to work we decided to make a brief visit to Therfield Heath. After some searching we managed to get good views of the over wintering Great-grey Shrike. We were also able to get another birder onto the bird. Unfortunately for us time time had run out so no time to search for owls. I took my wife to work and arranged to meet Paul at Stockers Lake. I met Paul at Stockers and we decided to head straight over to Moor Green where only last saturday we had managed to dip the Pallas's Warbler. On arrival Paul illegally park his vehicle and we made our way towards the "conveyer belt". We joined the group of assembled birders and no sooner had we lifted our bins we were on the bird. We enjoyed good but all too brief views of the Pallas's Warbler as it fed on the lower branches close to the waters edge. It then disappeared (as they do!). We stayed in the same spot for quite some time but it did not re-appear. We had a bit of a search further along the river but no luck. Time was getting on now and we were thinking should we wait for the Pallas's to show itself again or sneak in one more site for the day. Staines Moor was what we came up with, partly because of the adventure of walking the long muddy path to the moor. After negotiating the aformentioned path without slipping into the erm err "mud" we arrived unscathed onto the moor. After a few minutes looking for the Short-eared Owls we were pleasently surprised to connect with a ringtail Hen Harrier. We stayed till darkness fell but did not see any Short-eared Owls although up to 5 had been seen prior to our arrival.
All the pics below are Paul's; Great-grey Shrike at Therfield Heath, Fieldfare at Stockers Farm, Pallas's Warbler, Grey Wagtail and Goosander at Moor Green Lakes.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Scotsbridge Mill

A quick visit to Scotsbridge Mill before work today; Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Teal, Snipe (7).

Monday, 21 January 2013

Woodoaks Farm

A quick visit to Woodoaks Farm before work; Little Owl, Red Kite (3), Skylark (c50), Fieldfare (c20), Yellowhammer (12), Meadow Pipit (4).
Pics below; Mipit on manure pile, Fieldfare, Yellowhammer,

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Cabin Fever

I was going to stay in doors today but just after lunchtime I decided to brave the weather and have a stroll around the fields near my house. Unsurprisingly there was little of interest about. The best I could do was a fly over flock of c20 Fieldfare, c20 Siskin, 80+ Skylark.
Siskin and Skylark pics below.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dippy Day

A days birding with Paul. First stop was Moor Green Lakes in Berkshire. Our target bird the recently reported Pallas's Warbler. We arrived at around 08:30 and despite over 3 hours of searching by ourselves and several other birders we were unable to connect with our target bird. We did manage; Siskin (c30), Goldcrest (20+), Grey Wagtail, Little Grebe, Goosander (4, 2m, 2f,), Snipe (8), Red Kite.
From Moor Green Lakes we headed over to Hogback Wood near Beaconsfield. Shortly before arrival at Hogback Wood I checked my Birdguides App and you can guess what bird had been seen and where. It was seen only 20 minutes after we had left.
At Hogback Wood we were hoping for Firecrest. What we actually saw was nuffink.
Over to Little Marlow Gravel pits next in search of Caspian Gull. You can guess the result.
By now we were freezing cold and ever so slightly demoralised. As it was after half past three we decided to call it a day.
On the trudge back to the car we decided to visit one more site to try and finish the day on a more positive note. A female Scaup had been seen quite regularly on the Roach Pit at nearby Marlow Gravel Pits. On arrival at the Roach Pit we immediately connected with a female Scaup that was loosely associating with 2 Tufted Duck.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Inns n Stockers

A quick visit to Inns and Stockers Lakes before work. Inns; Goosander (drake), Goldeneye, Kingfisher, Stockers; Goosander (drake), Goldeneye, Wigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Great-spotted Woodpecker (seen drumming).
Distant Goosander on Inns and Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming at Stockers.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

50 per cent

A day out with Paul. As usual we had an outline plan. Red-breasted Goose at Farlington Marshes (Hants), Ring-billed Gull at Walpole Park (Hants), Glossy Ibis at Bickerley Common (Hants), Buff-bellied Pipit at Kingsmead Quarry (Berks).

Farlington Marshes: Despite a good search of the marshes and also the nearby Brent Goose Refuge we failed to find the Red-breasted Goose. We did speak to one birder who had seen it fly off early morning. It has apparently now re-located to Selsey Bill. At Farlington Marshes we noted the following; Brent Goose, Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Avocet, Curlew, Redshank, Grey Plover, Dunlin. At Tangiers Road, Brent Goose Refuge we noted..................? yep lots of em!

Walpole Park: No sign of Ring-billed Gull despite it being reported 20 minutes prior to our arrival. So first 2 of our target birds missed. We did manage to see; Common Gull, Ringed Plover, Rock Pipit and nearby on "the creek" Red-breasted Merganser.

Bickerley Common: Almost the first area we viewed produced the Glossy Ibis as it fed with a sizeable flock of Snipe. Viewing here was awful as we had to look straight into the sun.

At the M3 turn off for the M27 we saw c20 Waxwing drop into a small bush on the hard shoulder. Shame we couldn't stop!

Kingsmead Quarry, Berks: A short walk from the van and we were soon viewing both Buff-bellied Pipits as they fed with about half a dozen Pied Wagtails.

Staines Moor, Surrey: Our final stop of the day. We were hoping for several Short-eared Owls but had to settle for just the one. On our walk to the moor we were overtaken by LGRE he was after Stonechat for his Surrey list. As we had seen Stonechat on the moor the previous day we were able to direct him to the right area. He later confirmed he had seen them. On the way back to the van we heard a Barn Owl screeching but we did not see it.
Pics below; My Red-breasted Mergansers at Walpole Park, Paul's Rock Pipit at Walpole Park and then my really poor quality Buff-bellied Pipit at Kingsmead Quarry

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hoops no BB Pipit

A mornings birding with Paul and Brendan. The plan was to start off at Staines Moor in the hope of Water Pipit and Short-eared Owl. Then Queen Mother Reservoir for Long-tailed Duck and Buff-bellied Pipit.
Staines Moor. After a fairly birdless start we connected with a Water Pipit and then another "possible". We searched for some time for the Short-eared Owls and were eventually rewarded with close views of 2 as they flew from the long grass. Then news broke of the Buff-bellied Pipit at nearby Queen Mother Reservoir. It appeared things were going to plan! So we left Staines and headed for Horton. Also of note at Staines; Little Egret, Little Grebe, Stonechat, Skylark, Green Woodpecker.

Queen Mother Reservoir. Unfortunately no Pipit but we did manage; Peregrine (pair), Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck.

We dropped Paul off at Maple Cross as he had a date with the "Super Hoops" and headed homewards. Of course the Pipits were again reported so we did a "U" turn and headed back. However, a few mimutes later another report that the Pipits had flown off had us U turning again and heading for home. On arrival back home news that the Pipits had re-located nearby broke but just a bit too late in the day to head back.
Pic below Slav Grebe at Queen Mother Reservoir

Thursday, 10 January 2013


An hour at Stockers Lake before work today. I met Geoff and Tony near the Kingfisher hide, they had just seen the male Smew. Unfortunately for me it had swum out of view. I did have a look from various vantage points but no luck. I did manage the following; Goldeneye, Lapwing, Ring-necked Parakeet, Nuthatch, Siskin, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Suffolk and Norfolk

Saturday 5th January 2013. A trip to Suffolk and Norfolk with Paul. Brendan, Ephraim and Tony.
First stop was Hamilton Dock, Lowestoft. Here we were hoping to connect with Great Northern Diver. We arrived slightly later than expected due to the fact that Brendan’s new sat-nav has a woman’s voice and we all chose to ignore her instructions! 
On arrival we parked up and were soon viewing the Great Northern Diver. Also of note here were Great blacked-Backed Gull.
Tony arrived shortly after and we walked the short distance to Ness Point in the hope of Purple Sandpiper. First birds were Turnstone and then after a short while, 2 Purple Sandpipers arrived. Also here Red-throated Diver.
Great Yarmouth Beach was next up. Mediterranean Gull our target here. A short walk from the car to the beach and we immediately connected with 8 Mediterranean Gulls. Also of note here several Red-throated Divers
Caister Beach at the end of Second Avenue was our next stop. Again we struck lucky with our target birds. We walked a few hundred yards in a northward direction and soon located a flock of c40 Snow Buntings.
Over to Buckenham Marshes next in search of Taiga Bean and White-fronted Goose. However, neither species could be located. By way of compensation we did manage; Wigeon, Teal, Ruff, Peregrine (pair). Tony thought that the geese may be viewable from Burnthouse Lane at nearby Cantley . On the way to Cantley we made a quick stop at Strumshaw Fen. We only viewed the feeders near the information centre here but we did connect with Marsh Tit and Coal Tit. Whilst at Strumpshaw we spoke to an RSPB warden who had just come back from Cantley. He confirmed the geese could be seen from there.
On arrival at Burnthouse Lane, Cantley we walked a few hundred yards and were soon viewing both species of our target birds. Taiga Bean Goose (36) and White-fronted Goose (3). Also here several hundred Golden Plover. Tony had to leave us here but we weren’t finished yet as there was still some daylight left in the day!
To finish the day we went to Hickling Broad, Stubb Mill raptor roost. On the longish walk to the view point from the car park we had good views of Barn Owl and Marsh Harrier. From the watch point we connected with; Marsh Harrier (30+), Barn Owl (2 maybe 3), Common Crane (8 or 12, two or three groups of 4), Hen Harrier (4, 1 ringtail and 2 or possibly 3 males), Stonechat (pair).

Pics below; GND at Hamilton Dock, Med Gulls at Great Yarmouth, Snow Buntings Caister and distant Taiga Bean Geese at Cantley. Paul's Barn Owl at Stubb Mill.



Friday, 4 January 2013

Return to Oaklands Avenue Waxwings

A brief visit to view the Waxwings in Oaklands Avenue. They kept me waiting for about 10 minutes then flew into an old oak tree nearby. Then re-located to the back garden of a private house. The owner kindly let me and two other birders into his back garden for closer viewing.

Waxwings Oaklands Avenue Watford

Yesterday afternoon whilst carrying out my duties as a highly trained and motivated postal officer, I noticed an alert on my birdguides app of Waxwings in Oaklands Avenue, Watford. Although I had no optics with me and I am not allowed to stray "off route", Oaklands Avenue was about a mile and a half from where I was in Bushey. So I made my over and soon connected with 8 Waxwings in the back garden of a house on Oaklands Avenue. Joan T (the finder) was there and kindly lent me her bins for a better look. Only a brief stay, then back to work.
If you are reading this today (friday 4th Dec 2013) the flock is now up to 16 and still there.
Off to Suffolk and Norfolk in the morning with Paul, Brendan and Ephraim. Should be fun!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

GWE at Chenies

Local birding to kick off the New Year with Paul and Brendan. First stop was Chenies where we eventually connected with the long staying Great-white Egret. Rather frustratingly we heard a small flock of Crossbills in the nearby Baldwins Wood but could not connect with them. We then moved on to a few other local sites. A list of species and sites below.
1  Mute Swan  Chenies
2  Little Grebe  Chenies
3  Little Egret  Chenies
4  Great White Egret  Chenies
5  Red Kite  Chenies
6  Woodpigeon  Chenies
7  Wren  Chenies
8  Dunnock  Chenies
9  Robin  Chenies
10  Blackbird  Chenies
11  Song Thrush  Chenies
12  Goldcrest  Chenies
13  Blue Tit  Chenies
14  Great Tit  Chenies
15  Magpie  Chenies
16  Jackdaw  Chenies
17  Carrion Crow  Chenies
18  Chaffinch  Chenies
19  Goldfinch  Chenies
20  Common Crossbill  Chenies (heard only)
21  Wigeon  Stockers Farm
22  Gadwall  Stockers Farm
23  Shoveler  Stockers Farm
24  Little Owl  Stockers Farm
25  Meadow Pipit  Stockers Farm
26  Pied Wagtail  Stockers Farm
27  Fieldfare  Stockers Farm
28  Mistle Thrush  Stockers Farm
29  Starling  Stockers Farm
30  House Sparrow  Stockers Farm
31  Canada Goose  Stockers Lake
32  Mallard  Stockers Lake
33  Pochard  Stockers Lake
34  Tufted Duck  Stockers Lake
35  Goldeneye  Stockers Lake
36  Pheasant  Stockers Lake
37  Cormorant  Stockers Lake
38  Grey Heron  Stockers Lake
39  Sparrowhawk  Stockers Lake
40  Lapwing  Stockers Lake
41  Common Gull  Stockers Lake
42  Lesser Black-backed Gull  Stockers Lake
43  Ring-necked Parakeet  Stockers Lake
44  Kingfisher  Stockers Lake
45  Long-tailed Tit  Stockers Lake
46  Nuthatch  Stockers Lake
47  Goosander  Inns Lake
48  Great Crested Grebe  Bury Lake
49  Coot  Bury Lake
50  Black-headed Gull  Bury Lake
51  Greylag Goose  Lynsters Farm
52  Egyptian Goose  Lynsters Farm
53  Buzzard  Lynsters Farm
54  Kestrel  Lynsters Farm
55  Moorhen  Lynsters Farm
56  Stock Dove  Lynsters Farm
57  Collared Dove  Maple Lodge
58  Green Woodpecker  Maple Lodge
59  Herring Gull  Woodoaks Farm
60 Great Spotted Woodpecker Chenies

To start the New Year my top quality pics below; Ring-necked Parakeet and Goldeneye at Stockers. Paul's better quality pics; Great-spotted Woodpecker and Sparrowhawk again at Stockers.