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around Hemel Hempstead...

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Regular visitors will have noticed a decrease in posts to the HEMEL NATURE
blog - this is because I have been living & working out of the area, & due to the job my time out
& about with nature in Hemel is limited. I am working on a new blog to come soon & hope that the work that has gone into HEMEL NATURE will prove useful & interesting to those still visiting it.

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

HEMEL MEGA: Night-time RINGED PLOVER at Piccotts End

I went for a quick ride to Piccotts End Pools before it got dark this evening just incase any Ringed Plovers or other migrant waders had dropped in on their way through to visit the dried up, muddy & pebbley pools.
I approached on the footpath that runs between Gaddesden Hall & Piccotts End Farm, from the Noake Mill Lane End so I could inspect the dried up pools on the W side first without disturbing any waders that may be there. In the end there was nothing out of the ordinary to see but it was nice to see 2 MUTE SWANS on the back pools though.

On arriving at the end of the tree line I saw 2 LITTLE EGRETS fly up from the stream at the SE corner & they appeared to go off to roost in the Piccotts End Village direction at 7.25pm.
There are the remains of an unfortunate GREY HERON strung upright in a standing position, that has got caught up in the netting over the most Southerly pool. [Another victim of these inhumane nets pulled over some of the pools to deter birds from trying to catch the fish farmed there, if the net holes were alot smaller it wouldn't be a problem but at the size they are they are the perfect trap for any unfortunate medium to large bird & to make it worse they are indiscriminate, posing a threat to any bird wondering too close to the pools. So now I've seen Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron & multiple Moorhens all fall victim to the nets, what will it be next, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Osprey?]

The grusome remains of an unfortunate Grey Heron caught in netting over one of the pools at L. Cura & Sons fish farm, Piccotts End, Hemel Hempstead found on 14/09/11

A RED FOX sneaked along the back fenceline seemingly unnoticed or ignored by the grazing sheep.
As I was leaving in the direction of Piccotts End Farm at 7.40pm a probable SEROTINE BAT flew high quite leisurely but directly NW towards the pools, apart from when looping to catch an insect.
As I walked my bike back through a very dark Piccotts End Village a probable PIPESTRELLE BAT was hunting, then to my surprise at 8.00pm I heard the upward inflected 'khu-eep' or 'pu-eep' of a RINGED PLOVER, coming from the dark sky in the direction of the pools - my first at this site. That made me happy enough just to hear one & for my prediction to have been accurate.

Here is a recording of a Ringed Plover's flight call, like the one I heard...

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