Documenting surprising sightings, fascinating findings, & exciting encounters, with birds, wildlife, & other nature,
around Hemel Hempstead...

Explore & find out more about wildlife in this West Hertfordshire town. To return to the full homepage just click the banner above...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

RED KITE over Two Waters / Boxmoor

RED KITE over Keen's (Kings) Field this morning

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Where are Piccotts End Pools?


I often get asked where Piccotts End Pools is, how to get to the pools & where to view them from so here is a basic marked out map showing how to get there.

Before we start it's worth mentioning that Piccotts End Pools is in fact L. Cura & Sons fish farm which is an ever changing working environment & is actually in the process of being turned into a fishing complex, including banks being purged & pools joined to form small lakes.

There is no general access to the fish farm & the pools can only be viewed from the adjacent public footpath.

The pools are actually NW of Piccotts End Village, on the other side of the A4146 Leighton Buzzard Road, which often isn't realised by people visiting, who look for the pools around the village area without any luck.

There is nowhere to legally park near the footpaths as the roads surrounding the pools are private, the nearest places to park being The Red Lion Pub at Water End to the NW, or Piccotts End Village itself to the SE. Alternatively you could park at Hillier Garden Centre which is right next door E of the pools but despite it being within metres of the pools there is not a good view of the area due to the trees & hedge, plus it is actually slightly further to walk to get to the main viewing area.

The AQUA Pinpoint is the general location of Piccotts End Pools.

The AQUA Line is the main footpath between Piccotts End Village & Noake Mill Lane, this runs alongside the SW border of the pools where the pools can be viewed best from.

The GREEN Pinpoint is the best area to view the pools from.

The INDIGO Lines are alternative footpaths that join up with the main footpath so that you can access the area from different directions or extend your walk.

The map is interactive so you can zoom in or out to get your bearings & I hope it helps if you choose to visit the area.


View Basic Map of Access to View Piccotts End Pools in a larger map



2nd Winter HERRING GULL at Corner Hall offices

Monday, 11 February 2013

HEMEL MEGA: MEDITERRANEAN GULL at Corner Hall


1st Winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, on roof of Travis Perkins, Corner Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 11/02/2013

So after a long, long wait & years of carefully checking through flocks of Black-headed Gulls, I can finally add MEDITERRANEAN GULL it to my Hemel Life List! Except this one was a whole lot less difficult to find than I could have imagined. Although on this cold, snowy day the last thing I though of seeing at work today was one of our friends from the sunny Med, as I glanced out of the window at 9.40, there it was, a 1st Winter bird stood on the roof of Travis Perkins, straight across from my office in Corner Hall!

It was associating with some Black-headed Gulls & the 2nd Winter HERRING GULL that has decided to Winter in town this Winter & was a very nervous bird, jumping or ducking at the slightest sound of doors closing or machinery moving. At 9.45 it took flight with the other gulls, flew over the canal, then E towards Lawn Lane & out of sight, but then returned half an hour later at about 10.15. Whilst in flight I noticed that it had a silver metal ring on its right leg but it remained unreadable even at close(ish) range, particularly as when the bird was stood still or walking about on the rooftops it was obscured by the snow that had settled overnight. Making it even more difficult to read was the fact visibility was reduced due snow falling at the time, which also made taking photos quite difficult. A few minutes later the Med flew again, this time flying in wide circles heading low over Bennetts End until I could no longer see the bird between the rooftops & trees. Despite keeping one eye out of the window for the rest of the day I did not see it return, but I will make sure to check again at the same time tomorrow.

The areas where the Med Gull stood & flew around are best viewed from the car park at B&Q, where you can also get a greasy breakfast bap & weak cup of tea from the burger van to warm you up whilst waiting for it in the cold. If you do decide to see if the bird returns you can copy & past the following co-ordinates into Google Maps to get an idea of the general area where it stood... 51.742903,-0.471935

1st Winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, Corner Hall offices, Hemel Hempstead, 11/02/2013 - metal ring visible on right leg.

1st Winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL, on roof of Travis Perkins, Corner Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 11/02/2013




WAXWINGS! Alan Corner reports at least 20 WAXWINGS feeding on apple tree in garden of 44 Parr Crescent in Woodhall Farm at 14.00, best viewed from Cuffley Court or Shenley Road

Presumably same birds reported on Saturday 9th of February.

Female MUTE SWAN with pink bill colour-ringed [Orange 4AFC] with mate at Corner Hall / Boxmoor

RED KITE over Apsley

HEMEL MEGA: 1st Winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL on roof of Travis Perkins, Corner Hall!


First for Hemel Hempstead as far as I know!
Ringed with silver metal ring on right leg, so far unreadable.
Seen around 9.45 at B&Q car park side of Travis Perkins, nervous & flighty.

2nd Winter HERRING GULL at Corner Hall offices

SISKIN at Water Gardens & COMMON GULL near Police Station