Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday Bad birding

Eventually I made the reserve after a few chores I met an old friend Anne Merete Free at
the club house we chatted as I moved off to the Rotunda.
It was here I could hear rustling in the undergrowth and the pair of Common Teal were
suspicious all of the sudden a fox bolted towards me.

Well this livened me up and I set off for the Teal Hide where a few duck obliged,more
entertaining was a party of four Coot scrapping.
At Long Hedge a Sparrowhawk showed briefly as a Ring necked Parakeet was following a
flock of Fieldfare.
At Long hedge hide a single Gadwall male showed well as I returned to the Club house and
returned home.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Back to Woodoaks alas no Harrier

Walked to Woodoaks around O900hrs one birder present grilling the orchard I had a single
greenfinch in the hedgerow on route.
Walking on through the farmyard on the apex roof of the old barn were two male
Wheatears sunning themselves in a cold wind.
Moving closer I managed some better shots from below the barn.
Leaving the barn I followed the track up to the dung heap hopefully for a better views
of the elusive Stonechat,however too many dog walkers spoil the peace,sounds
hypocritical coming from me but mine is on a lead when it counts.
A brief view of a little brown job at the top of the track could not prove it was
a stonechat so I returned down the track noting around 40c Golden plover.
Back at the barn the stonechat obliged be it briefly,it moved away towards the
roundabout on the barbed wire fence,another wheatear showed in the arable field
and finally a Common Gull was feeding opposite the cottages.
Did not get a heads up on the Marsh Harrier thanks for that?.What  goes around
comes around.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Birding Maple Lodge recce for ST Albans RSPB

Met  Yvvone Raxworthy and Colin Rose in the car park prior to the reserve it was still cold,
we made our way to the Rotunda hide first observing the Phragmites reed bed from above.
Nothing much doing the odd Teal  and Tufted on the partially frozen lake,we made our
way to the aptly named Teal hide were a few more obliged.

Moving on to the junction of the Paddock and Long Hedge the regular Common Buzzard
put in an all to brief appearance as it headed off to Lynsters gravel pit as did we.
From the hide overlooking Lynsters farm and gravel pit we saw 3 species of
Geese including 2 Egyptians.
We now retraced our steps and walked up Long Hedge there were a few Goldfinch
calling in the Alders and feeding on the few thistles available.
Good numbers of Fieldfares,Redwings and small flocks of Stock doves graced Lynsters
farm field adjacent the reserve,we viewed two more hides noting Tufted and a single Great
Crested Grebe etc.
We returned to the Club house where we left for Woodoaks Farm,this was more
rewarding a Red Kite over the orchard gave impressive views.
On the arable farmland a small flock of 60c Golden Plover and a party of 30c
Meadow Pipit.
Finally one of four reported Wheatears  posed as we returned through the farm.
If you are members of St Albans RSPB do'nt miss this trip on Sunday April 14th.

Monday, 25 March 2013

wheatears at woodoaks farm

Decided to return to the farm today a biting north easterly wind hampered my morning
stroll ,on arrival a Common Buzzard was sat in Hawthorn in the old Orchard.

Also a  small party of Fieldfares sat motionless in the tall trees their cackle gave
notice of my prescence.
I walked through the farmyard yesterdays cow dung and mud had frozen as I walked
the tractor furrows frozen under foot, on route to the dung heap two of yesterdays
Wheatears were still present.
Sylark's were producing aerial song along with meadow pipit and a smaller number
of Yellowhammer were feeding on the manure pile.
An hour gone my hands cold trying to photograph the highly mobile Wheatear
as they flew towards the farm walls and perimetre fencing.
Made my way home got the kettle on and it was not long before two Red Kite flew
over the house one close.

As I write this blog unusual visitors to the bird table include Carrion Crow and

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Well March is certainly living up to it's former glories,the March winds shall blow and we shall have snow and  what
will  Robin do then poor thing,beware the ides of March.
A walk to Woodoaks farm on Sunday the 24 th of March was quite an eye opener in a biting
cold wind and a flurrie of snow.
Up to my ankles in cow shit and mud I plodded on Chris the farm hand had texted me
there were some Wheatears around. But  first up was a flock of 180c Golden Plover.

The light was crap for photography as I followed the track past the dung heap,I trudged on
a single kestrel was hunting below Lady Walk Wood.
Then in the distance I picked up the Wheatears in flight showing their white rumps all
good looking Spring males.
Then on the return I found a highly mobile Stonechat ,everything was mobile due to persistent
dog walkers.
Finally at the dung heap one of 15 Yellowhammers posed briefly before I returned home
a little colder than most March mornings.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lewis and Carter

Birding with Lewis checked out the Yew trees in St Thomas's church at West Hyde for the reported
Coal tits proved fruitless,so we moved off to Maple Lodge on route around 30c Fieldfare were
amongst the wood pigeon in flight over the Uxbridge road.
At the Lodge we made our way to the Rotunda hide where the Green Sandpiper obliged alongside
two Mallard.Overhead Common Buzzard and Red Kite along with Grey Heron,
plagued the resident duck notably the Common Teal who were at comparative ease on
the flooded water meadow,they flushed slightly mostly the females.

From the panel one snipe was on the edge of the phragmites reed bed no sign of
yesterday's magnificent seven.
At the Sluice a pair of Little Grebe were present along with a party of male Tufteds
and single female.
Further up Long Hedge some Pochard beat a retreat and the single Great Crested Grebe
was patrolling the Willow carr hopefully looking for a nest site.
So ended our window of oppurtunity as domestic tasks had arisen,on adjacent
Lynsters farm the regular pair of Egyptian Geese wallowed in mud with the
Canadas.We reluctantly left as Nimbus clouds raced across the sky bringing rain.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Magnificent Seven (Snipe)

Birded Maple Lodge on arrival met Geoff Lapworth we moved off seperately eventually meeting
at the screen in the fence on route to Rotunda,passing through the flooded woodland.
At the panel  were five of todays (magnificent seven) snipe on view against the light.
The other two Common Snipe posed admirably at the Rotunda hide they must have been
Yul Brynner and Steve Mcqueen or Chris and Vin to you staunch Western fans.
So Geoff and I  mosed on down to Long Hedge as more bandidos engaged the magnificent
Seven with their long lenses.
A single Redwing obliged for the camera in the same spot as yesterday.
So its Adios till next time.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

March cold and sunny Maple Lodge

Walked to Maple Lodge and made my way to the Rotunda hide where the reported Green Sandpiper
obliged at some distance along with two Common Snipe.
Chatting to Nick from Harrow a Green Woodpecker landed on a post ,before we
returned to the Club house on route a single Redwing obliged.
Two Egyptian geese were on adjacent Lynsters farm amongst the Canadas I
reluctantly  left and Nick gave me a lift to the Cross.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Early March Maple Lodge Sun now Rain

On Tuesday the 5th Spring had sprung at Maple Cross the birds were singing and the sun was on
my back as I walked to the reserve.
The flooded Alder woodland was gradually drying out as I made my way to the
Rotunda hide where two skulking Common Snipe were not very obliging for the
camera.I retraced my steps past the double decker hide where from its lofty heights
a pair of Reed Bunting were looking for a nest site amongst the Phragmites.

Next up the Teal hide which yielded little,however from the Sluice a Little Grebe put
in an appearance. Making my way along Long Hedge Dunnocks were singing and Great Tits
holding territory.
On reaching the Shell  hide a Common Buzzard was spiralling over a blue sky I
managed some distant shots overhead.
On  return a single Redwing showed briefly and a Carrion Crow called from the high trees
bordering the recreation ground.
At the clubhouse I sat quietly and photographed passerines for an hour. Of note here are
some eg a goldfinch and male chaffinch were quite pleasing.