Friday, 27 May 2011

Croxley Common Moor

I spent the best part of the morning at Croxley Common Moor with birding pal Steve Carter checking out the breeding birds and photographing flora in bloom.
Species observed as follows;
Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (1), Mallard (6), Pheasant (displaying cock), Moorhen (2 pairs with fledged young), Black-headed Gull (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (3, presumed to be breeding at Watford Town Centre), Feral Pigeon (4 over briefly), Woodpigeon, Swift (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker (adult collecting food), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird (collecting food), Song Thrush (collecting food), Sedge Warbler (displaying male), Reed Warbler (several pairs including adult with faecal sac), Common Whitethroat (several singing male), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Blackcap (several singing male plus pair with fledged young), Chiffchaff (2 singing male), Willow Warbler (singing male), Long-tailed Tit (pair with fledged young), Blue Tit (pair with young in nest box), Great Tit, Jay (1), Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling (post breeding flock of c30 including fledged young), Chaffinch (singing male), Greenfinch (6), Goldfinch (2 pairs plus single fledged young), Reed Bunting (3 singing male).

                                          Moorhen and juv on River Gade, Croxley Common Moor

Below are a selection of flowers photographed today I am not an expert so apologies for any errors!

                                                        Common Poppy

                                                        Blue Water Iris



                                                       Goat's-Beard (seed head)

                                                       Ribbed Melilot


                                                        Wooly Thistle

                                                        Red Clover

                                                        White Clover



Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A brief early evening visit showed evidence of yesterday's high winds with many large tree limbs laying scattered about the reserve. Along the path leading away from the Clubhouse I discovered a dead Water Shrew as nearby a Song Thrush collected food. Waterfowl observed with young included several broods of Coot and 3 broods of Mallard. A pair of Pochard are reportedly present with a brood of young too but did not show themselves to me today. 

                                         Water Shrew (dead) at Maple Lodge Nature Reserve 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Ringing recovery.

I Have just received information on a Ringed Mute Swan I found dead at Troy Mill G.P on 17 May 2010.
Ringing Scheme: London        Ring Number: W28171        Species of bird: Mute Swan 
This bird was ringed by Edward Grey Institute as age 1st year, sex Unknown on 02-Oct-2009 at River Thames, Reading, Reading
OS Map reference SU7074, co-ordinates 51deg 28min N 1deg 0min W.
It was found on 17-May-2010 at Troy Mill Gravel Pit, near Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire
OS Map reference TQ0390, co-ordinates 51deg 36min N 0deg 31min W.
The bird was Dead: Not fresh    

Friday, 20 May 2011

A sad day!

While pottering about the garden today I noticed an eerie silence around the Great Tit nest box! Only the previous evening I could here the young calling and see the aduts busily commuting to and from the box!
I decided to take a peek and was saddened to see what looked like dead young in the box. On closer inspection I found 5 dead young and 2 almost dead young who's fate was sealed! What had gone so wrong in a matter of hours? The nest was relatively clean and there seemed to be no infestation of ticks or mites! The young that were clinging on for life were very cold and motionless and passed away an hour later! Their feather quils had just began to grow true feathers and they would have probably fledged a week later!
At least the Blackbird young are still noisly calling for food although I have only seen the male bird feeding the young today! I do hope we haven't got a predator on the loose!
Evening update 20:44, just seen the female Blackbird arrive with food :-)

                                          Great Tit young dead in nest!

                                           And laid out for a close inspection!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Broadwater Gravel Pit, Harefield

A late morning, early afternoon visit produced the following species;
Great-crested Grebe (13 pairs), Cormorant (many fledged young), Grey Heron (at least 3 broods noted), Mute Swan (pair), Greylag Goose (12 inc 3 pairs with goslings), Canada Goose (8 inc 3 pairs with goslings), Egyptian Goose (2 pairs), Gadwall (several pairs), Mallard, Pochard (pair), Tufted Duck (several pairs), Moorhen, Coot (3 pairs with fledged young), Lapwing (4), Oystercatcher (pair feeding 2 downy young), Black-headed Gull (c36 nesting pairs), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5), Herring Gull (10), Common Tern (3 nesting pairs), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (3 inc pair), Cuckoo (singing male), Kingfisher (pair), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2 pairs with well grown young at nest), Sand Martin (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Wren (pair with recently fledged young), Dunnock (singing male), Robin (singing male), Blackbird (singing male), Song Thrush (singing male), Sedge Warbler (2 singing male), Reed Warbler (15 singing male), Common Whitethroat (2 singing male), Garden Warbler (4 singing male), Blackcap (10 singing male plus 2 pairs), Chiffchaff (7 singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit (2 pairs with young at nest), Great Tit, Treecreeper (2 singing male), Magpie, Jackdaw (2), Carrion Crow (2), Chaffinch (several singing male), Greenfinch (2 singing male), Reed Bunting (3 singing male).
Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Banded Demoiselle.
Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Common Blue (2).

                                          Common Blue at Broadwater G.P

                                                       Great-spotted Woodpecker (juv at nest).

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Goldeneye at Troy Mill Gravel Pit

While conducting belated WeBS counts at Troy Mill I observed a late female Goldeneye congregating with several Tufted Duck. A female summered here last year and I suspect this is the same individual.
I have no real idea as to why she would choose to remain here throughout the summer unless she is injured in some way and can't fly and so can't migrate! There is no obvious sign of injury and was happily feeding throughout my visit. It will be interesting to see if she remains throughout this summer.  

Monday, 16 May 2011

Maple Lodge Close Garden Birding

A busy time in the garden for me and the birds with many weeds to pull from my vegetable plot and my resident Great Tit's having 5 hungry mouths to feed! In my conifer hedge pair of Blackbirds are also busily feeding young and pair of Robins have recently taken up residence in the same hedge too. As I tend to the garden a Carrion Crow calls excitedly from above and I look up to see it chasing off a Red Kite that had strayed too close to its nest. A few minutes later a Hobby appears from the north hawking insects before drifting away to the south. Not bad this garden birding lark!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Croxley Common Moor

A late morning visit in mild but windy condition produced the following species;
Cormorant (2 over), Grey Heron (1), Mallard (9), Kestrel (hunting male), Pheasant (cock), Moorhen (2), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Common Tern (1), Feral Pigeon (4 over), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon (8), Collared Dove (1), Cuckoo (singing male), Green Woodpecker (male), Swallow (1), Wren (3 singing male), Dunnock (4 singing male), Robin (singing male), Blackbird, Song Thrush, Reed Warbler (singing male), Lesser Whitethroat (2 singing male), Common Whitethroat (14 singing male), Garden Warbler (2 singing male), Blackcap (2 singing male), Chiffchaff (7 singing male), Willow Warbler (4 singing male), Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow (pair), Starling (c20), House Sparrow (2 singing male), Chaffinch (several singing male), Greenfinch (10), Goldfinch (pair), Reed Bunting (3 singing male).
Small Heath (3), Small White (1). 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve, Lynsters Gravel Pit & Farm

An early evening visit produced the following species;
Little Grebe (3 pairs), Great-crested Grebe (pair at Lynsters G.P), Cormorant (2), Grey Heron (2), Mute Swan (pair), Greylag Goose (6 pairs with goslings at Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (3 on cricket pitch), Gadwall (9 including pair), Mallard (27 plus duck with ducklings), Pochard (8), Tufted Duck (10 including pair), Common Buzzard (1 over briefly), Moorhen (4), Coot (53 including 2 pairs with young), Black-headed Gull (6 over), Lesser Black-backed Gull (4 over), Common Tern (3 pairs), Feral Pigeon (over), Stock Dove (1 Lynsters Farm), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (pair at Maple Lodge Close), Ring-necked Parakeet, Swift (10 overhead), Great-spotted Woodpecker, Swallow (3 overhead), Pied Wagtail (1 over briefly), Wren, Robin (pair collecting food), Blackbird (collecting food), Song Thrush (collecting food), Reed Warbler (singing male), Garden Warbler (2 singing male), Blackcap (6 singing male), Chiffchaff (2 singing male), Spotted Flycatcher (hunting insects in paddock), Long-tailed Tit (pair collecting food), Blue Tit (several pairs feeding young at nest), Great Tit (2 pairs feeding young at nest), Treecreeper (displaying pair), Jay (pair), Magpie, Jackdaw (over), Carrion Crow (pair), Chaffinch (several singing male), Greenfinch.
Common Blue Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly.
Red Admiral. 
Earlier in the day I visited Cassiobury Park where 3 pairs of Mistle Thrush were noted including 2 pairs collecting food. On returning home I briefly observed a hawking Hobby above the playing field behind Maple Lodge Close.

                                                      Grey Heron at Maple Lodge N.R

                                          Gadwall (duck) at Maple Lodge N.R

                                           Gadwall (drake) at Maple Lodge N.R

                                                       Greylag Geese at Lynsters Farm

                                          Greylag Goose goslings at Lynsters Farm

                                    Blue-tailed Damselfly (immature male) at Maple Lodge N.R

                                    Common Blue Damselfly (male) at Maple Lodge N.R

                                          Red Admiral at Maple Lodge N.R

                                                        Yellow Iris at Maple Lodge N.R

                                                        Red Campion at Maple Lodge N.R

Friday, 6 May 2011

Hersham Village Golf Course, Surrey

While out on a golf society bash this afternoon I observed a pair of Egyptian Goose with 4 goslings on a small pond. The Gander was very aggressive to other waterfowl and was seen chasing a Mallard in flight around the golf course. Other species observed included a drumming male Great-spotted Woodpecker and a male Green Woodpecker.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Broadwater Gravel Pit, Harefield

Steve Carter and I conducted a mid-morning visit to Broadwater Gravel Pit where species observed were as follows;
Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose (6), Canada Goose (pair with goslings), Egyptian Goose (pair), Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk (1), Hobby (1), Moorhen, Coot (pair with young), Lapwing (1), Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull (c50), Common Tern (12), Black Tern (1), Feral Pigeon (2), Stock Dove (2), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (pair), Cuckoo (singing male), Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (calling male), Great-spotted Woodpecker (drumming male), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler (6 singing male), Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling , Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting (singing male).
A single Black Tern was observed in flight low above the lake and remained for around half an hour busily feeding on insects before moving on.

                                          Black Tern at Broadwater Gravel Pit (record shots).

                                          Carrion Crow mobbing Sparrowhawk.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Woodoaks Farm

An afternoon walk to Woodoaks Farm in sunny but windy conditions produced the following species of interest,
Greylag Goose (2 feeding on pasture), Mallard (duck on barn roof), Red Kite (2), Sparrowhawk (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Kestrel (male with prey chased by Red Kite), Common Swift (24 over heading north), Swallow (2 passing through), Skylark (singing male), Common Whitethroat (singing male), Blackcap (singing male), Garden Warbler (singing male), Long-tailed Tit (pair feeding young at nest), House Sparrow (female collecting food).
On returning back to Maple Lodge Close a female Blackbird was observed feeding a single juvenile.

                                          Red Kite.

                                                        Oxeye Daisies at Woodoaks Farm

Sunday, 1 May 2011

30th April Staines Reservoir & Woodoaks Farm

An early morning visit to Staines Reservoir after working a night-shift produced the following species; 
Great Northern Diver (immature on south basin), Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Gadwall (5), Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Little Gull (12 on south basin inc 11 adult and 1 first summer), Black-headed Gull (c300), Common Tern, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (56 over), Swift (3), Pied Wagtail, Robin, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

An afternoon visit to Woodoaks Farm produced the following species of interest;
Greylag Goose (4 on pasture), Canada Goose (2 on pasture), Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (1), Kestrel (female), Garden Warbler (singing male), Blackcap (4 singing male),Common Whitethroat (singing male), Chiffchaff (singing male), Green Woodpecker (1).
Hairy Dragonfly, Broad-bodied Chaser.

                                          Red Kite

                                          Red Kite mobbed by Carrion Crow

                                                       Hairy Dragonfly.

                                          Broad-bodied Chaser.

27th April Stockers Farm, Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

Stockers Farm;
Swallow (7), House Martin (1), Common Whitethroat (singing male near paddock).
Stockers Lake;
Swift (3), House Martin (4), Chaffinch (female nest building).
Red-eared Terrapin (1). 
Bury Lake;
Red-crested Pochard (drake). 

                                                        Red-crested Pochard at Bury Lake.

27th April Woodoaks Farm

Species encountered during a late morning visit in mild conditions were as follows;
Grey Heron (1 over), Greylag Goose (5), Common Buzzard (2), Kestrel (displaying male), Pheasant (calling male), Feral Pigeon (3), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet (pair), Cuckoo (singing male), Little Owl (1 in old orchard), Green Woodpecker (1), Skylark (2 displaying male), House Martin (2 over old orchard), Swallow (1), Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Common Whitethroat (2 singing male), Garden Warbler (singing male), Blackcap (6 singing male), Chiffchaff (4 singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Rook (1 over), Carrion Crow, Starling (c20), House Sparrow, Chaffinch (singing male), Greenfinch (2 singing male), Yellowhammer (singing male).
Speckled Wood, Orange-Tip, Green-veined White, Small White, Holly Blue.
Hairy Dragonfly.

                                          Green-veined White.

                                           Orange-Tip (female).

                                                          Hairy Dragonfly.