Saturday 28 February 2015

The Sound of a Mistle

Hemel: A male Mistle Thrush has been singing almost constantly for the past 4 days, in the woods at the back of my house…He's driving me slightly nuts….in a good way!

Friday 27 February 2015

Toad of Toad Hall

Wilstone reservoir: Beautiful, sunny morning. Skylarks singing & displaying (field by the east corner). Goldeneye (3+, 1) in east quadrant; Pintail from the hide (at least 1 pair); Cormorants and Grey Herons gathering nesting material; Great Crested Grebes pairing up and displaying occasionally. Little Egrets (2) from car park steps, in field north of reservoir.

Common Toad (bufo bufo) in east corner, on the bank.

Compared to a Common Frog (Rana temporaria) I found at Bovingdon Brickworks last year

For more of the Common Frog see Week 29: Watch Out, Frogs About! at Boxmoor, naturally… HERE

Wednesday 25 February 2015

A Bird in the Hand

Hemel (BMT): In connection with my volunteering with the Box Moor Trust, I’ve had the opportunity to join a wonderfully experienced and careful BTO ringer at the Gadespring Cress Beds. Little birds, up close, held in the hand....fantastic. The morning started off gloomy and grey with drizzle but by the time we finished for lunch, the sun was peaking out. 11 Reed Buntings ringed at the site over 2 mornings in February.

Female Reed Bunting

Ringing (a Dunnock! Forgot to photograph the RB!)
 Measuring the wing

Checking the tail feathers to assess age

 Mist Net (between A & B, feeders in trees)

Monday 23 February 2015

Redwing in the Rain

Hemel (BMT): rained all night. Earth sodden underfoot; grey, gloomy morning with drizzle and hail(!). On Harding's Moor, a group of 27 Redwing, 7 Mistle Thrushes and 10+ Goldfinches probing the soft earth, taking advantage of vulnerable worms trying to avoid drowning…vicious predators.

A Song Thrush has a territory on the east side of Harding's Moor and a Wren was checking out the sticks and vegetation used to enhance the flow of the Bulbourne.

Sparrowhawk & Red Kite over Bulbourne Meadow. Regular Kingfisher ♀, Little Egrets (2) & Grey Wagtails (2) also along Bulbourne. 1 Little Egret along river Gade, Gadebridge Park.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Crocus Burst

Hemel (BMT): As well as the Snowdrops, Crocuses have burst into flower.
Along the drive into Dellfield meadow, under the Beech hedge...

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Fourth Kingfisher

Hemel (BMT): Finally managed to confirm a 4th Kingfisher along the river Bulbourne through BMT land. I've had a suspicion that a second (immature) female was around but just hadn't been able to see both birds at the same time. Neither bird had distinguishing features to ID them individually, unfortunately. Anyway, chuffed to sort that out today. Didn't manage a photograph of the second female but it didn't matter.

So, we have 2  and 2 . One male has the malformed upper mandible and is fairly tolerant of people; the other male is more secretive and keeps to the more sheltered areas away from pedestrian traffic. Similarly, one female is very tolerant of photographers and admirers. She is drawing in the crowds and developing a bumper portfolio on Flickr. The second female is more timid and I've not been able to photograph her.

From left to right: timid , confiding  (protruding upper bill) & confiding 

Saturday 14 February 2015

Serin Dip, Pity

Southend-on-Sea: No happy accidents at Gunners Park, Shoebury today. The 2 male Serins stayed well out of sight but, hey, these things happen. There was plenty to enjoy, anyway. A few Stonechats, a Dartford Warbler, Water Rail, and then out on the shoreline, a variety of waders and gulls.