Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

Although the thaw is well under way the water at the reserve remains frozen with little seen in the way of waterfowl. At the Clubhouse feeding station several Moorhen squabbled over the small amounts of seed  that was discarded from the feeders above. At least 3 Siskin were observed feeding on a small Alder with a male briefly visiting the seed feeder. Suddenly there was a commotion and a female Sparrowhawk swept past scattering all the passerines. A few moments later she returned and settled briefly on an Alder before making a second sortie past the feeders but was again unsuccessful in her hunt.

Sparrowhawk (female) at the Clubhouse  feeding station.


Monday, 20 December 2010

Chess Valley, Scotsbridge Mill

Steve Carter and I visited Scotsbridge Mill and we were surprised to find the River Chess had frozen over. In my life time I have never seen the Chess freeze over and we later discovered that temperatures here dropped to -14 overnight. The temperature during our visit was a balmy -6!
Species of interest observed as follows;
Little Egret (2), Teal (12), Common Buzzard (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Water Rail (6), Common Snipe (5), Meadow Pipit (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Reed Bunting (2).

                                          Common Snipe.

                                          Water Rail.

                                                       River Chess (frozen).


While updating my blog I have just had 4 Reed Bunting visit my garden feeding station.

More Waxwing

At the junction of Northway and Station Road 4 Waxwing were observed in trees adjacent the flats.
Maple Cross
While driving along Hornhill Road I noted 5 Waxwing feeding in Hawthorn.

                                                       Waxwings at Northway, Rickmansworth.

                                                        Waxwing at Hornhill Road, Maple Cross.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Waxwing fest at Maple Cross

While out at Bury & Stockers Lake I received a call from friend and fellow birder Steve Carter who had relocated the flock of Waxwing at Oakhill Close, Maple Cross. When I arrived the birds were busily feeding on berries in a garden but were easily spooked by traffic. The flock dispersed and eventually relocated nearby with a total of 108 birds eventually counted. I believe this to possibly be the biggest flock ever recorded at Maple Cross. Other species observed included 2 Red Kite, a single Buzzard being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crow, 4 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush feeding on Yew berries, a male and female Blackcap feeding among the Waxwings, Redwing, Fieldlfare and a hunting Sparrowhawk that flushed the Waxwings from their feeding site.


                                          Waxwings at Maple Cross.

                                          Red Kite over Maple Cross.

                              Common Buzzard being mobbed by one of two Carrion Crow.

                                          Blackcap (male).

Bury Lake & Stockers Lake

I made an early morning visit to Bury Lake & Stockers Lake to conduct wetland bird survey counts. On arriving I found both lakes to be frozen with an area of open water at Bury Lake and 2 smaller areas of open water at Stockers Lake holding concentrations of waterfowl.
Count as follows;
Little Grebe (1), Great-crested Grebe (4), Cormorant (18), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (46), Canada Goose (133), Wigeon (30), Gadwall (32), Teal (4), Mallard (49), Shoveler Duck (100), Pochard (26), Tufted Duck (229), Red-crested Pochard (6 inc 4 drake), Smew (2 male), Goldeneye (6), Moorhen (19), Coot (396), Lapwing (51), Black-headed Gull (60), Common Gull (2), Herring Gull (1), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Kingfisher (3), Ring-necked Parakeet (5), Green Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Goldcrest (1), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit (2), Great Tit, Treecreeper (1), Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin (c100), Reed Bunting (2).

                                          Smew at Bury Lake.

                                          Goldeneye at Bury Lake.

                                          Mallard on ice at Bury Lake.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Maple Lodge in the snow

Steve Carter and I headed off to the reserve in heavy snow where we spent a couple of hours at the Clubhouse Hide. Below is a photographic record of some of the species encountered.

                                          Pheasant (hen).

                                          Pheasant (cock and hen).

                                          Ring-necked Parakeet.

                                          Long-tailed Tit.


                                          Fox on the run.

                                          Are you looking at me?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Waxwings arrive in Mill End

A total of 21 Waxwing were present throughout the day at the south end of Chiltern Drive where it meets Shepherds Lane in Mill End. A very mobile flock actively feeding on many varieties of berries. This area still holds a good crop so I expect the birds to remain for a few more days at least!

A couple of record shots of the Waxwing flock present at the Chiltern Drive/Shepherds Lane junction this afternoon.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Reed Buntings at Maple Lodge Close

I have been unable to get out and bird the last couple of days but after returning home this afternoon from a family commitment I noted 3 Reed Bunting in scrub behind my house. A male and 2 female birds present in Dog Rose accompanied by several House Sparrow. On paper this is an ideal spot for the odd Waxwing to drop in and feast on the abundant rose-hips so I will continue to keep an eye on this area!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Aldenham Country Park

A late morning early afternoon visit to Aldenham Country Park with fellow birder and good friend Steve Carter produced the following species list;
Little Grebe (3), Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Wigeon (c100), Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Smew (2 adult female), Mandarin (10 including 7 drake),
Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush (1), Redwing (2), Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit (calling bird in wooded area), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper (1), Nuthatch (1), Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin.
Later a visit to Bury Lake produced 7 Red-crested Pochard including 5 drake.

                                          Mandarin (drake) at Aldenham Country Park.

                                          Mandarin (pair) at Aldenham Country Park.

                                          Smew (female) at Aldenham Country Park.

                                          Wren at Aldenham Country Park.

                                          Mute Swan at Aldenham Country Park.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Stockers Farm, Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

From Stockers pumping station I made my way through the farm to Stockers Lake & Bury Lake.
At Stockers Farm I noted 2 Little Owl in a large Crack Willow and 3 Lapwing present on the flooded field (now dry). At Bury Lake, which had 80% ice coverage, 6 Red-crested Pochard (inc 4 drake) were present on open water at the north end.
At Stockers Lake, also with 80% ice coverage, I noted an adult male Smew that was busily diving for food at the east side of the lake with at least 5 drake Goldeneye and c100 Shoveler also present.

                                          Smew (adult male) at Stockers Lake

Early morning at Maple Lodge

With much of the reserve frozen over and the only remaining open water present at the Clubhouse Lake waterfowl numbers were lower than usual.
Species counted as follows;

Little Grebe (2), Cormorant (1 over), Mute Swan (2), Teal (4), Mallard (4), Shoveler Duck (2), Pochard (2), Tufted Duck (1), Moorhen (42), Coot (65), Pheasant (3), Kestrel (1), Black-headed Gull (2 over), Woodpigeon (34), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird (3), Fieldfare (2 over), Redwing (1 over), Goldcrest (2), Long-tailed Tit (7), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper (1), Jay (2), Magpie, Jackdaw (over), Carrion Crow, House Sparrow (several at Maple Lodge Close), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin (c100 very mobile flock).
A count of selected species observed at Lynsters Farm went as follows;
Canada Goose (2), Egyptian Goose (2), Stock Dove (3), Jackdaw (c100), Rook (5).

Monday, 6 December 2010

West Hyde

An afternoon visit to the Gravel Pits of West Hyde produced the following species of note;
Troy Mill G.P
Little Grebe (1), Little Egret (1), Kestrel (male), Water Rail (2), Common Gull (3), Herring Gull (c90), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Jay (1), Siskin (2).
North Troy G.P (Helicon G.P)
Ice coverage was quite extensive on the lake today and I observed a colour ringed Herring Gull at rest on the ice. The ring was yellow and was present on it's left leg with a metallic ring on it's right leg.
The inscription on the colour ring was just visible and may have been 1682? or 1652?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Maple Lodge Close

A much milder morning with periods of sunshine and virtually no wind.
Early this morning there was a brief period of shooting activity at Lynsters Farm where c20 Wigeon were flushed and observed heading north.
At my garden feeding station 3 Reed Bunting had returned (1 male & 2 female) and were accompanied by a male House Sparrow.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Maple Lodge Close

With the cold conditions continuing, my garden feeding station has been extremely busy this morning, species of note as follows;
Dunnock (3), Robin (2), Blackbird (several feeding on apples with an aggressive female chasing off the male birds), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay (2), Magpie, Starling, Chaffinch (5), Greenfinch, Reed Bunting (3).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Bury Lake, Stockers Lake and Stockers Farm

I decided to brave the cold, wintry conditions and headed off to the Gravel Pits of Rickmansworth. Ice coverage was extensive with concentrations of waterfowl present in the few areas of open water. 
Bury Lake
Wigeon (23), Red-crested Pochard (8 including 5 drake), Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Green Woodpecker (1), Mistle Thrush (1).
Stockers Lake
Shoveler Duck (a feeding raft of c70), Goldeneye (6 including 2 drake), Lapwing (15  at rest on the ice), Common Snipe (1 over heading east), Kingfisher (1 along the River Colne),  Treecreeper (2 calling birds),  Siskin (c50 feeding in Alders), Greenfinch (male feeding on Dog Rose seeds), Reed Bunting (4).
Stockers Farm
Lapwing (3), House Sparrow (c30 in Hawthorn hedge).

Late in the morning, while in Rickmansworth Town Centre I noted a calling Marsh Tit from a Silver Birch adjacent the Council Offices located at North Way.

                                          Blackbird at Stockers Lake.

                                          Robin at Stockers Lake.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Maple Cross and West Hyde

An afternoon visit to the Gravel Pits of Maple Cross and West Hyde produced the following species of interest;
Troy Mill G.P
Little Egret (1), Teal (2), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5), Dunlin (adult in winter plumage observed sitting on large crack willow log before flying off), Green Woodpecker (1).
North Troy G.P (Helicon G.P)
Siskin (c30 feeding in Alder).
Pynesfield North G.P
Wigeon (37), Great-spotted Woodpecker (female).
Lynsters Farm
Canada Goose (40 grazing), Wigeon (61 grazing).  

Earlier in the day while driving along the A412 I spotted 2 Red Kite circling above the fields behind Woodland Road.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Woodoaks Farm

A late afternoon visit to Woodoaks Farm produced the following species of note;
Cormorant (6 over briefly before landing at Stockers Lake), Lapwing (30 on grass field behind the manure pile), Common Snipe (1 flushed from upper pasture above old orchard), Meadow Pipit (1), Blackbird (10 feeding on hawthorn at old orchard), Fieldfare (4 at old orchard), Goldcrest (2 at ladywalk wood) Jay (1).  

Maple Cross morning update

A pair of Goosander were briefly observed in flight above Maple Lodge Close heading north.

Early morning at Maple Cross

Another cold, windy day although this part of Hertfordshire has at least missed any significant snowfall.
Looking out towards the playing field this morning I noted a single Red Kite as it moved West.
A pair of Mistle Thrush and a single Common Gull briefly passed by and were later followed by at least 10 Redwing.