Sunday, 29 April 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve in the rain

I conducted an afternoon visit to the reserve with heavy rain falling and conditions somewhat wintry.
Water levels had continued to rise but still below normal for this time of year.
The weather began to improve after an hour or so and on returning to the welcome comfort of the new Teal Hide the sun finally broke through the cloud. A passage of hirundines passed through with c100 birds present, mostly Common House Martin and several Barn Swallow. Then c20 Common Swift briefly fed on emerging insects before continuing on their way. Then from the left appeared a fast moving streamlined figure, a glorious Eurasian Hobby my first of the year, following a few stragglers left behind from the main hirundine flock.
A full list of species encountered as follows:-
Little Grebe (2 pairs), Great Cormorant (6), Grey Heron (6), Mute Swan (pair), Greylag Goose (12 plus 2 pairs with goslings at Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (2 nesting pairs plus 17 at Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (8 Lynsters Farm), Gadwall (3 plus 2 pairs at Lynsters Farm), Common Teal (pair), Mallard (18), Common Pochard (Lynsters Gravel Pit), Tufted Duck (Lynsters Gravel Pit), Eurasian Hobby (1), Common Moorhen (11), Eurasian Coot (12), Black-headed Gull (2), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2 over), Common Tern (1 over), Feral Rock Dove (4 Lynsters Farm), Stock Dove (3), Woodpigeon (4), Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Common Swift (c20), Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Pied Wagtail (1 Lynsters Farm), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcap (8 singing male plus a female), Chiffchaff (3 singing male), Goldcrest (2 singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow (pair at nest), Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch.



Thursday, 26 April 2012

Black Redstart at Heathrow Airport

I have been extremely busy the last few weeks juggling myself between family and work so have not been out birding too much of late. While leaving work this morning during a heavy shower of rain and strong winds I heard a wonderful male Black Redstart calling from above. He was sat on top of the hangar and did not seem too perturbed by the awful weather. I have observed Black Redstart at Heathrow Airport every year since 1987 where they breed and seem to be doing very well.
This afternoon while out driving past the Aquadrome in Rickmansworth I discovered a pair of Canada Goose with at least 2 goslings feeding on the verge and later at Woodoaks Farm 5 Greylag Goose grazed the pasture.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Osprey at Stockers Lake

Steve Carter and I discovered a marvellous Osprey that flew over the lake and continued north at 13:00 after a heavy shower of rain.
A combined species list for Stockers & Bury Lake as follows :-
Great-crested Grebe (14), Great Cormorant (4), Grey Heron (15),Little Egret (1), Mute Swan (39 including 2 nesting pairs at Bury Lake), Greylag Goose (4), Domestic Greylag Goose (1), Canada Goose (76), Egyptian Goose (6), Gadwall (2), Mallard (55), Northern Shoveler (2),Red-crested Pochard (9), Common Pochard (19), Tufted Duck (72), Common Goldeneye (displaying pair briefly flew over nearby woodland), Osprey (1) Common Moorhen (3 including copulating pair), Eurasian Coot (93 including several nesting pairs), Black-headed Gull (26), Lesser Black-backed Gull (3), Common Tern (6), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon,Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Barn Swallow (16), Common House Martin (2), Pied Wagtail, Wren (singing male), Dunnock (singing male), European Robin (singing male), Blackbird (singing male), Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler (singing male on causeway very mobile), Blackcap (7 singing male), Chiffchaff (10 singing male), Willow Warbler (2 singing male), Goldcrest (singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (2 over), Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Reed Bunting (singing male on causeway).

                                       Red-crested Pochard (drake) at Bury Lake

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Stone Curlews at Weeting Heath

A late afternoon visit to Weeting Heath Nature Reserve produced 2 marvelous Stone Curlew that showed well from the hide at around 17:00.

Aqua Sana and Hawfinches

While enjoying the relaxation at Aqua Sana, center parcs Elveden I had the added pleasure of seeing 7 Hawfinches in the tree canopy. A great find as my trip yesterday to Lynford Arboretum was curtailed due to very wet weather!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mayday Farm near Elveden, Suffolk

An early morning visit following the Goshawk trail produced 4 new year ticks but alas no Goshawk:-
Woodlark (5 including 2 pairs), Lesser Redpoll, Brambling and Common Crossbill (12 including 4 male).
I hadn't visited this site for a few years and was disappointed to find the hide now missing and replaced by a screen!