Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Winters special at Rye Mead

Decided to have a afternoon at Rye Meads started off well at the Lapwing hide with 2 Peregrine showing well but distance on a Plyon. Then sit in the hide for a bit where after a while snipe started to come out of the undergrowth with at least 7 seen while out on the field a few Fieldfares were feeding and a lone Grey Heron was hunting while on the main stream a Kingfisher did a nice flyby while on the edge of the reeds at least one Cetti's Warbler was singing and a few Tits were feeding.

Peregrines on Plyon 

Snipe on the ice

Blue Tit on the reeds
Then walked up to the Draper hide where I had distance views of the Water Pipit and a Water Rail was showing well feeding along the edge.

Then headed to the Kingfisher hide where a lovely Bittern was hunting along the edge of the reeds and occasionally showing itself and catching the old fish on the reed edge it did this for about 15 minutes before suddenly flying off. After the show a Cetti's Warbler had a nice sing and showed it self which is rare for this species before I had some stunning Wrens views has it feed on the reeds.

Hunting Bittern


Wren feeding in the reeds



 Then ended the day at the Gadwall hide with some nice views of a Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper feeding on the shore edge while slightly further out a nice flock of Shovelers and Gadwalls and a lone Common Gull.

Feeding Grey Wagtail

Green Sandpiper in the water

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Frosty morning at Tyttenhanger

After a early morning station drop decided to have a walk around the lakes so started at willow farm lots of gulls out in the farm field with lots of Common Gulls and a few Blacked Headed Gulls but the highlight was a brief view of wintering Caspian Gull which was loiting at dawn with the gulls.

Then walked around the lake and with the ice big numbers of Shovelers and Gadwall's were around the 1st Island which was the only unfrozen section of the lake. In the trees a big flock of Fieldfares were mixed with Goldfinches and Linnets.

Then walked around to the main pits when i saw 3 Tree Sparrows around the natural nesting hole they used last year so looks promising for this year. Around the pits the frozen weather had made the plants look very attractive in the frosty conditions.

Frozen Plants


Frozen Reeds

On the main pit itself the Caspian Gull really stood out with the other gulls as it was so large even next to a group of Herring and Lesser backed Gulls. Also out on the scape were a few Lapwing and a pair of Little egrets but no sign of any Great White Egrets and at the back good numbers of Teal, Shovelers and Gadwall's.

Gull flock with Caspian in the middle

Then heading back past Willow Farm Lake a Goosander gave a nice flyby and agood size flock of Redwing were seen feeding in the woods.

Goosander flyby

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. 

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.
Water Rail