Saturday, 14 January 2017

Batford Springs Walk

After the new year St. Albans RSPB had its annual early morning new year walk to Batford springs which started off well with a raven seen from the car park. Then headed off to the the river where a few Goldfinches where showing well and a nice flock of Starlings were feeding in the trees. Along the river itself a few Moorhens and Mallards were feeding while a great view of a Grey Heron was seen hunting staying motionless still while in the trees above a mixed tit flock was seen with a few Goldcrest and a Nuthatch was calling nearby.

We then reached the bridge by the mill were for a few lucky people we had a nice view of a Kingfisher. We the entered the meadow were a few of our group had some nice views of a Bullfinch while out in the farmers field a big group of Redwings and a few Fieldfare where seen feeding.

The last point of call was to the mini reservoir where a few Pied Wagtails were loiting with a big group of Black-headed Gulls while on the nearby pond a pair of Little Grebes were seen. As we headed back as the sun came out a Grey Wagtail popped out briefly showing well in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New year day birding

With rain forcast for most of south england decided to head for Dungeness first stop was to head for the stonechat area but due to the windy conditions brief views of the European Stonechat was had as well as a few linnets over. Then on the nearby pits a Slavonian Grebe was found in the Tufted Ducks.

Then headed to the beach for a spot of seawatching from the car 1 Caspian Gull was found in with big flock of gulls. While out at sea lots of Guillemots a single Razorbill and a few Gannets were flying out past before a few Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes were seen before a Kittiwake and a Little Gull were seen distantly out on the skyline.

As the rain was getting worse decided to head for the main RSPB reserve and the shelter of the hides. First stop was the dipping pond and the Long-eared Owl showing well. 

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Long Eared Owl

Then stayed over the burrows pit for a while where had some nice views of some Goldeneye, a lone Redhead Smew and a Goosander were the highlights of the the winters ducks. Then ended the day at Scott hide where I had some great views of the Water Rail feeding some of the best views I had of this species.
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Water Rail


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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winters birds around West Hyde

Last weekend had our local RSPB walk around the lakes of West Hyde near Rickmansworth. A productive start with 23 species seen from the cars with the highlight a nice flock of Redwings and Fieldfares. We walked to the lakes where there were a nice section of winter waterfowl with a good number of Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and a few Shovelers showing well in the winter sunshine before a pair of Egyptian Geese landed.

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Lake reflecting

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One of many pochards in the water
We then walked up to the canal where we had views of a Jay in the woodland. We then walked along the canal where Grey and Pied Wagtails were showing well while a Cetti's Warbler was briefly seen and a nice Sparrowhawk flew over.

We then walked backalong the River Colne where a Chiff-chaff was found and a few Great Spotted Woodpecker called while overhead a few Red Kites and Buzzard where seen hunting while a Song Thrush was found singing away as a few Meadow Pipits flew through.

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Chiff-chaff

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Egret heaven at Tyttenhanger

A icy start was had at Willow Farm lakes at the weekend but a good start as starting down the football had a mixed flock of  100+ Goldfinch and Linnets which were feeding on the thistles as the sun was raising.

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Linnets in the trees
Then walked around the first lake where there were quite a number of Great Crested Grebes and Tufted Ducks and a few odd Teals. Along the shore there were quite a number of Little Egrets and one of the great White Egrets flew through.

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Little Egret in flight
Then walked around the second late where I had a singing Goldcrest and a flyby Kingfisher and a calling Bullfinch and a few Redwing over and a Green Sandpiper showed well on the shore.

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Green Sandpiper (taken earlier in the week but most likely same bird)
Then walked around to end where had a nice views of the egrets with 9 together plus the Two Great White Egrets. After watching them for a while there decided to head off down the lake towards the main gravel pit.

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Egrets Together

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Great White Egret in flight

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Then walked back where a Red Kite, Buzzard and Peregrine where seen up in the air together which was quite unusually and then to end the walk a few Goldfinch where seen feeding on the thistles.

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Hunting Peregrine
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Feeding Goldfinch


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Walton-on-the-Naze

While visiting family last weekend after storm angus had a nice walk around Walton-on-the Naze first walked around the scrub where there plenty of miltary pillboxs around and a few thrushes mainly Blackbirds around.

Then walked down to the seawall where there where plenty of Redshanks and Curlews feeding and calling and a few Brent Geese which developed into bigger flocks as we moved around. Further around there were big numbers of Teals with a few Shoveler and Wigeon within the flock on the more inland water.

At the most east end out on the marsh there were a few more waders with a nice Spotted Redshank and flocks of Dunlin and Sanderling and singles of Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit feeding. As we walked along the river a nice Water Rail swam across and showed well feeding along the bank while on the same stretch a Rock Pipit perched in the fading light. As we completed the loop a Redwing was heard over while a single Yellowhammer was heard singing before we reentered the main town.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Wiltstone Reservoir

After a washout the day before the RSPB walk with the St. Albans had a lovely sunny morning walk with a nice section of birds on the walk around to the hide with a nice section of Teal, Wigeon Pochard and Tufted Ducks seen on the water while on the edge Pied Wagtails were seen in numbers and Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were heard. In the scrub to the hide at least one Chiff-chaff was seen.

From the hide at least 4 Dunlin were feeding on the mud with the Golden Plovers showing well with the Lapwings in the mud with 2 Snipe hiding with them. Out with the Waterfowl a lovely pair of Pintail were found and a Red-crested Pochard was showing on and off and a Distance Goldeneye.

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Pair of Pintails
Then we ended the walk walking around the back of the reservoir where we had a few views of Fieldfares and Redwings and the Golden Plover flew over our heads.

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Golden Plovers flying over

Saturday, 12 November 2016

More on the yorkshire coast

Following on from norfolk spent the next day in the yorkshire area first stop was to Thornwick Bay around Flamborough Head for daybreak as a Hume's Warbler had been around for a few days the first birds of the morning were a few Redwings and Fieldfares passing through soon joined by a kestrel. In the willow area a few species of House and Tree Sparrows were calling as the Hume warblers showed well in the early morning fog before it disappeared for a bit so then decided to check out the hide which held some Teal, Snipe and a odd Dunlin.

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Humme's warbler in the willow

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Feeding Snipe
Back in the field the skylarks were waking up with good numbers were in song while a Redpoll flew through. By this time the Hume's Warbler had moved to the willows of the fishing pond where it was keeping with a group of Goldcrest giving some nice views but were flightly.
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Skylark in flight

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Humme's Warbler closeup

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After spenting time with the warbler decided to head to spurn  and walk to the point which might have been a moment of madness as the walk is now a lot longer than it used to be though nice to see so many goldcrests some seem very exhausted. Also around at the point a nice Black Redstart and a Wheatear with a few Redwings and Fieldfields floating around while off shore a nice Long-tailed Duck drifted past and lots of Brent Geese, Curlew, Knot, Redshank and Dunlin were feeding on the shore.

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One of many Goldcrests
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The Black Redstart
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Long-tailed Duck