Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

I visited early morning with weather conditions overcast and mild with some light rain. After the bank holiday music festival the cricket field was in very poor condition although 23 Mallard were busily feeding amongst the muddy ruts and were accompanied by a single Green Woodpecker. At the reserve many species were busily breeding including a total of 15 pairs of Black-headed Gull  most using the tern rafts, at least 3 pairs observed with small young. The resident pair of Mute Swan was noted with 3 Cygnets while the female Great Crested Grebe sat tightly on her nest. Along Elizabeth Walk approaching Teal Hide I discovered a pair of Common Moorhen with newly hatched young. From Shell Hide I observed a Common Redshank in flight briefly as it passed overhead. At Lynsters Farm 2 pairs of Greylag Goose were present with goslings while 5 Stock Dove fed among the cattle. A full List of species observed as follows:-

Little Grebe (2), Great Crested Grebe (pair at nest), Great Cormorant (2), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (pair plus 3 cygnets), Greylag Goose (5 plus 2 pairs with goslings Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (7 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (1 over), Gadwall (2), Mallard (25 plus 3 duck with broods of well grown young), Common Pochard (15), Tufted Duck (18), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (female at nest), Common Buzzard (2), Common Moorhen (pair with new brood), Eurasian Coot (10 plus 6 pairs with young), Common Redshank (1 over), Black-headed Gull (15 pairs at least 3 pairs noted with young), Lesser Black-backed Gull (4 over), Common Tern (1), Stock Dove (5 Lynsters Farm), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (2), Common Swift (10), Common Kingfisher (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Barn Swallow (1), Wren (singing male), Dunnock (singing male), European Robin (singing male), Common Blackbird (adults with nest material and collecting food), Song Thrush (singing male), Cetti's Warbler (singing male), Reed Warbler (1), Garden Warbler (2 singing male), Blackcap (7 singing male plus single female), Common Chiffchaff (singing male), Goldcrest (singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit (recently fledged young), Great Tit (recently fledged young), Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (adult collecting food), Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch (singing male), Common Reed Bunting (2 singing male).          

Sunday, 25 May 2014

House Sparrow at Maple Cross

There is a healthy population of House Sparrows in the vicinity of my house and this lovely male posed for the camera for several minutes.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Tawny Owls at bedtime

Climbing into bed late last night with my windows open trying to keep cool I was alerted to the calls of at least two Tawny Owl young. Present at the north end of Maple Lodge Nature Reserve these birds had been quiet of late as I had last heard them on the evening of the 16th April.  

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Springwell Lake, Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

An early morning visit to Springwell Lake produced the female Common Goldeneye with only 3 remaining ducklings. It is presumed that the missing ducklings had succumb to predation by Pike although the only fish activity present this morning were dozens of carp thrashing about in the margins.
I then continued on to Stockers & Bury Lakes where a wetland bird survey count provided the following species:-
Great Crested Grebe (19), Great Cormorant (1), Grey Heron (7), Little Egret (12), Mute Swan (27 plus pair with 2 cygnets), Black Swan (1), Canada Goose (37 plus large creche of goslings), Egyptian Goose (4), Gadwall (1), Mallard (34), Common Pochard (7), Tufted Duck (28), Red-crested Pochard (drake), Common Moorhen (4 including nesting pair), Eurasian Coot (90 inc 4 pairs with young), Eurasian Oystercatcher (pair at Stockers Farm), Black-headed Gull (26 inc 5 nesting pairs), Common Tern (12), Stock Dove (2), Woodpigeon, Eurasian Cuckoo (1 singing), Ring-necked Parakeet, Common Swift (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Barn Swallow (5 Stockers Farm), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler (singing), Eurasian Reed Warbler (4 singing), Sedge Warbler (1 singing), Common Whitethroat (2 singing), Garden Warbler (1 singing), Blackcap (8 singing plus female collecting food), Common Chiffchaff (4 singing), Long-tailed Tit (pair with young), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (3 over), Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Reed Bunting (3).
At the south end of Stockers Lake I also noted 2 large Red-eared Terrapin basking on a log.   

                                                        Common Goldeneye with young.

                                                   Canada Goose gosling at Bury Lake.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Breeding Goldeneye at Springwell Lake

I received news late last night that a female Common Goldeneye had been observed with seven ducklings at Springwell Lake. I made a visit early this afternoon and had fantastic views from the picnic area at the main car park. The adult female defended the young aggressively from other waterfowl while the ducklings themselves dived below the water surface for food. This tree nesting species breeds rarely in England although in Scotland there is now a healthy breeding population. I presume this female had nested in one of the owl nest boxes sited around the lake.  

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

From the Rotunda Hide the resident pair of Water Rail were observed with three newly hatched young. This is the first breeding record for many years at the reserve.

At the plantation the Mistle Thrush nest contained two juveniles that will probably leave the nest in the next few days.

At the Long Hedge Hide a pair of Great Crested Grebe were observed at the nest which now contains two eggs. Nearby the Little Grebe nest contained the adult bird sitting tight incubating eggs. A total of 14 pairs of nesting Black-headed Gull have now taken up residence on the rafts and nearby island.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Stockers Farm and Stockers Lake

At Stockers Farm the following species of interest were noted on the flooded field:-
Egyptian Goose (pair with 4 remaining goslings), Eurasian Oystercatcher (pair), Barn Swallow (10), European Goldfinch (3), Common Linnet (pair).

                                                               Eurasian Oystercatcher
At Stockers Lake I heard my first Cuckoo of the year singing from Garret Wood while at the heronry at least five nesting pairs of Little Egret were seen. The pair of  Eurasian Oystercatcher that I had seen earlier at Stockers Farm had relocated to one of the islands on the lake. Another pair of Egyptian Goose flew in and four Common Tern put in a brief appearance.

Croxley Common Moor

A mid-afternoon visit provided the following species:-
Great Cormorant (1 over), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (4), Mallard (1), Common Pheasant (1), Common Moorhen (4 plus pair with new brood of young), Eurasian Coot (3), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Common Tern (1), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Barn Swallow (1), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin (juvenile), Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sedge Warbler (2), European Reed Warbler (7), Common Whitethroat (6), Blackcap (6), Common Chiffchaff (8), Willow Warbler (2), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch (6).

                                                             European Reed Warbler.