Monday 2 November 2015

More in hope than expectation

BMT & Tring Reservoirs: In the spirit of Something is better than Nothing, here I am with a scrap of an update. Over the last 12 days, it’s been the usual mix of walks over BMT land with the occasional sortie elsewhere to keep things interesting. I've run into numerous, entertaining mixed Tit flocks and, although they haven’t included the hoped for Firecrest or Yellow-browed Warbler, they are nevertheless cheerful. Whose spirits can’t be lifted by 9+ tinkling Goldcrests, 11+ chirpy Long-tailed Tits and a smattering of Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches, all busy searching and flitting through the bare branches of eye-level scrub, as was the case one morning last week at the Brickworks. Energy, life and colour arrive with these restless flocks and seem to leave with the last of their calls, as they disappear onwards and upwards through the trees.

The return of the Redwings to BMT land was nearly 2 weeks ago now and, although I saw Fieldfare locally on Saturday, I’ve not yet sought them out around the Trust.

With Short-eared Owls being reported left, right and centre, and a few Barn Owls obviously moving within the county, I spent last Friday evening staking out a potential local hunting ground. It was a blissful, warm, still nightfall, with a blood-red sunset and, although a few bats and the odd moth came out to play, the owls had other plans. 

This morning, Roy Hargreaves found a Long-eared Owl roosting near the reservoirs. Yes, that was LONG-eared Owl. I don’t know about Roy, but my jaw hit the floor when I heard! More in hope than expectation, I followed up on this with a walk around Tringford and Startop’s End reservoirs late morning. Not surprisingly, I didn’t chance upon an owl with superior tufts.....or one without superior tufts, for that matter. Ah well. The night/winter is still young. And, on into November we go...


  1. We have long eared and short eared owls along the sustrans 64 cycle track near here...muggins here hasn't ever seen them though. Got a better chance with the SEOs

    1. Hi Si. There are a number of regular winter SEO spots not too far from Hemel, which is great. LEO is "an uncommon winter visitor" to Hertfordshire and we're lucky if we get a handful of single observer sightings a year. Roy did extremely well to get news to those nearby who were able to also see the bird.


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