Sunday, 27 February 2011

Birding and Fishing at the Elms, Rickmansworth

A Pike fishing match at the Elms Fishery in Rickmansworth offered great birding opportunities and threw up a couple of surprises. An exciting time of the year with many resident species preparing for the coming breeding season with winter visitors still present.
Species observed as follows;
Great-crested Grebe (pair), Cormorant (1), Grey Heron (2), Mute Swan (pair), Canada Goose (pair), Mallard (6 including copulating pair), Mandarin (drake), Common Buzzard (1), Black-headed Gull (40), Common Gull (1), Stock Dove (4), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (pair), Ring-necked Parakeet (pair), Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2 drumming males), Grey Wagtail (1), Waxwing (c40 in trees calling), Wren (singing male), Dunnock (singing male), Robin (singing male), Blackbird, Goldcrest (singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper (1), Magpie (pair constructing nest), Jackdaw, Carrion Crow (pair mobbed Buzzard), Starling (pair using nest hole), Chaffinch, Greenfinch (2 singing males), Goldfinch (singing male), Siskin (2).  
On the fishing front I caught a 6lb 6oz specimen that was returned unharmed back to the water.
                                                    Early morning view over the lake.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Broadwater Gravel Pit, Harefield

An afternoon visit to Broadwater G.P produced the following species list;
Little Grebe (displaying pair), Great-crested Grebe (2 displaying pairs), Cormorant (16 occupied nests), Grey Heron (at least 1 occupied nest), Little Egret (1), Mute Swan (pair), Canada Goose (3), Egyptian Goose (1), Wigeon (6), Gadwall, Teal (6), Mallard, Shoveler Duck (several pairs), Pochard, Tufted Duck (several pairs), Goldeneye (26), Goosander (4), Red Kite (1), Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing (c50), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove (pair), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (2 pairs), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Grey Wagtail (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing (14), Chiffchaff (7 including a singing male), Goldcrest (8 including 2 singing males), Long-tailed Tit (building nest), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper (singing male), Magpie, Jackdaw (9), Carrion Crow (pair), Chaffinch, Greenfinch (2 singing males), Goldfinch (16), Siskin (c30), Bullfinch (5), Reed Bunting (female).
I bumped into the bailiff while on my travels who informed me that he had been listening to a Tawny Owl calling from the woods several minutes before my arrival. He also explained to me that the proposed route for the Cross Rail  project will cut across several of the lakes in Harefield including part of Korda Lake and the River Colne thus destroying the wonderful wetland habitat at this SSI, a so called "Green Project" !?


Monday, 21 February 2011

Out and about the local patch

Chalfont Road
A morning bike ride along Chalfont Road produced 3 Skylark displaying high above the fields near the Old Shire Lane junction as below c120 Woodpigeon fed.
Maple Lodge Nature Reserve
On arrival in the afternoon I briefly observed a Red Kite before it disappeared from view heading towards Maple Cross. In the Alder plantation I flushed a male Kestrel as c20 Siskin fed in the canopy nearby.
At the Sluice Hide I watched 2 Cormorant busily fishing as several Teal dabbled in the shallows.
At Lynsters Hide I observed a pair of Long-tailed Tit busily building their lichen covered nest in the middle of a dense bramble bush. On leaving the reserve a single Golden Plover was briefly observed over heading south.
Lynsters Farm
A count of selected species observed went as follows;
Greylag Goose (3), Canada Goose (101), Egyptian Goose (3), Little Egret (1 over briefly heading south), Jackdaw (20), Rook (1).

                                          Teal (drake) at Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

                                          Long-tailed Tit viewed from Lynsters Hide.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Late winter visit to Minsmere, Suffolk

A late winter visit to Minsmere R.S.P.B Nature Reserve on a cold blustery day with Steve Carter and Dave Cole produced the following species;
Little Grebe (5), Great-crested Grebe (displaying pair from island mere hide), Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose (c20), Canada Goose, Brent Goose (3 in flight along coast), Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail (7), Shoveler Duck, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye (female from island mere hide), Smew (drake plus 4 redheads, mobile), Marsh Harrier (4), Red-legged Partridge ( 5 en route), Pheasant, Water Rail (2 calling from phragmites), Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher (1), Lapwing (c150), Dunlin (c12 very mobile), Common Snipe (1 from island mere hide), Black-tailed Godwit (several, mobile), Curlew (1), Redshank (1), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker (2), Meadow Pipit (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Mistle Thrush (pair), Cetti's Warbler (6 singing males), Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit (2 on feeders), Coal Tit (2 on feeders), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin (2), Snow Bunting (7 in flight briefly along dunes, male birds showing well), Reed Bunting (singing male).
I personally observed at total of 66 species and considering the very poor weather condition not a bad days work at all. On a positive note it was good to hear so many singing male Cetti's Warblers about the reserve after a colder than usual winter.
Red Deer (3 hind), Hare, Rabbit.
Steve and Dave at the Island Mere Hide.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Woodoaks Farm

A late morning visit to Woodoaks Farm in dull, drizzly conditions produced the following species;
Grey Heron (1), Black-headed Gull (6 over), Feral Pigeon (2), Woodpigeon (11), Collared Dove (10), Little Owl (1 in old orchard), Skylark (4), Meadow Pipit (3), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird (3), Fieldfare (3), Song Thrush (2), Redwing (c40), Goldcrest (singing male), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie (2), Jackdaw (2 pairs at nest), Carrion Crow (pair at nest), Starling (singing male), House Sparrow (12), Chaffinch (6), Yellowhammer (5). 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

An early afternoon visit to Maple Lodge and Lynsters Farm produced the following species;
Little Grebe (4), Great-crested Grebe (pair at Lynsters G.P), Cormorant (1), Mute Swan (2), Canada Goose (49 Lynsters Farm), Greylag Goose (4 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (5 Lynsters Farm), Gadwall (1 plus 11 at Lynsters Farm), Teal (3), Mallard (11), Shoveler Duck (13), Pochard (1), Tufted Duck (21), Moorhen (20), Coot (37), Common Snipe (1), Black-headed Gull (c50 over), Feral Pigeon (2 over), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet (3), Great-spotted Woodpecker (female), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird (3), Song Thrush (1), Redwing (2), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper (1), Jay (1), Magpie (2), Jackdaw (2 over plus c50 at Lynsters Farm), Carrion Crow (pair), House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch (2), Siskin (c50). 

                                          Common Snipe from Rotunda Hide.

                                          Cock Pheasant at Clubhouse feeding station.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

An afternoon visit to Stockers Lake & Bury Lake to conduct WeBS counts produced the following;
Great-crested Grebe (7), Cormorant (22), Grey Heron (39), Little Egret (1), Mute Swan (46), Canada Goose (77), Egyptian Goose (2), Wigeon (15), Gadwall (14), Mallard (39), Shoveler Duck (59), Pochard (36), Tufted Duck (184), Red-crested Pochard (4), Sparrowhawk (1), Moorhen (12), Coot (210), Lapwing (30), Black-headed Gull (275), Common Gull (8), Woodpigeon, Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin (c30), Reed Bunting.

                                          Red-crested Pochard at Bury Lake

                                           Coot and Black-headed Gull at Bury Lake


Friday, 11 February 2011

Hawfinch at Bramfield Village, Herts

A morning visit to Bramfield Village at 10am with Steve Carter produced dividends when we observed 3 Hawfinch. Present in trees above the playing field opposite the church before moving off. Later a singleton put in a brief appearance in the churchyard.

                        A very poor record shot of Hawfinches at Bramfield Village.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm/Lynsters G.P

I made an early afternoon visit to the reserve in mild but very windy conditions.
Early signs of spring were evident with both Alder and Hazel showing a good number of catkins while in the undergrowth Lords-and-Ladies were starting to show through the leaf litter.
A bird count at Maple Lodge went as follows;
Little Grebe (6), Grey Heron (adult at last years nest), Mute Swan (2), Canada Goose (1), Gadwall ( 14), Teal (21), Mallard (29), Shoveler Duck (4), Pochard (2), Tufted Duck (32), Red Kite (1), Pheasant (1), Moorhen (13), Coot (26), Black-headed Gull (2), Common Gull (1 over), Feral Rock Dove (2 over), Woodpigeon (9), Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail (1 over), Wren, Robin, Blackbird (2), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Siskin (c50).
At Lynsters G.P Cormorant, Great-crested Grebe and 5 Wigeon were present on the water while at the farm 21 Canadian Geese were busily grazing near the Old Uxbridge Road.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Waxwings at Maple Cross

While off on a bike ride along Denham Way I heard the distinctive call of Waxwing and immediately stopped.
Across the road from me outside 126 Denham Way were 30 Waxwing in the canopy of a tree. I watched them for several minutes before they flew off further along Denham Way.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Brambling at Cassiobury Park

A morning visit to Cassiobury Park with Steve Carter produced a female Brambling from the newly errected hide, our first of the year.

                                           Brambling female at Cassiobury Park, Watford.

                                                          Grey Heron at Cassiobury Park