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around Hemel Hempstead...

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Sunday, 30 March 2014

6 BUZZARDS, 2 RED KITES & SPARROWHAWK all up together at Great Gaddesden.

Friday, 21 March 2014

REED BUNTING at Great Gaddesden

MEADOW PIPIT & BUZZARD at Nettleden Road, Water End

Male GADWALL, 2 LAPWINGS, 2 RED KITES & 2 BUZZARDS at Great Gaddesden.

LAPWING at Water End flood meadows

Some pics in the field of the 2 WHEATEARS at Water End...


Male WHEATEAR at Water End
Female WHEATEAR at Water End



2 WHEATEARS around horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End.


2 WHEATEARS (1 Male & 1 Female - Pair?) around horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End - first at 'top' S end of paddock then following fence line N to road. At one point Male was under my car! Also moving around adjacent soil field & crop fields across road. Also seen perching atop hedgrow beside road. Grid reference for use with Google Maps: 51.780135,-0.514687



Thursday, 13 March 2014

STOCK DOVE singing near canal at Hemel Cricket Club, Boxmoor.


WOODPIGEON at Boxmoor.



TAWNY OWL singing at Valley Green, Woodhall Farm

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

COMMON GULL with resemblance to RING-BILLED GULL at Grovehill Playing Fields


Crop of head detail of COMMON GULL - image enhanced to counter fog.

Going back through some old record shots I came across some of an interesting gull I noticed one foggy morning at Grovehill Playing Fields on my way to work on 12/03/14. I'd stopped off to look for the Mediterranean Gull seen two days before. I noticed at the time this COMMON GULL looked superficially like a Ring-billed Gull (thicker bill, more obvious bill ring, paler eye, stronger build & less friendly face) but the primary wing feathers appeared as they would for a regular Common Gull. I was in a rush so I quickly took some snap shots. Looking at the images, due to a combination of subtle differences to the 'norm' in its features, the bird looks very similar to possible Ring-billed Gull x Common Gull Hybrids, which there are only very few confirmed instances of worldwide.

So, although this is just a particularly well built individual & variant of Common Gull, not the usual dainty & petite look, perhaps these photos & observations will be of use with sightings of similar birds, & unsure Ring-billed Gull IDs, going forward.

[Barry Reed kindly sent me this link which shows a similar bird (near the bottom under 'Unusual Common Gulls'). It has the same colour eyes & similar bill details (though not as thick near the tip, as steeply sloped up from the tip, or as long) & I notice the author also considered the possibility of Common Gull x Ring-biled Gull Hybrid: http://www.birdersplayground.co.uk/Common%20Gull%20-%20adults.html]

Here are the shots I took - some completely unaltered (apart from cropping), & some others enhanced to counter the dulling effect of the fog. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

COMMON GULL - image enhanced to counter fog.
This is a summary of my observations:-

Images & video of the Male GOLDEN PHEASANT at Piccotts End on 30th of January


Male GOLDEN PHEASANT at Piccotts End.
You can see all of the images & video of the Male GOLDEN PHEASANT in a front garden at Piccotts End on the 30th of January > HERE <.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

HEMEL MEGA: Adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL at Pennine Way sports fields near Grovehill yesterday, reported by Jenny Baker.


Adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL at Pennine Way sports fields near Grovehill yesterday, reported by Jenny Baker - this follows one I saw at Grovehill Playing Fields this Winter on the 1st of October - same bird?



Monday, 10 March 2014

3 HERRING GULLS chasing & calling at Corner Hall / Two Waters.

More unfortunate roadkill - TAWNY OWL, another BADGER & urban PHEASANT.


Following on from last weeks post about the roadkill BADGER at the Link Road near Howe Grove, Highfield (> HERE <), on Friday I noticed something else at the side of the road also on the Link Road, at the W end of Howe Grove, Highfield, so on Saturday while I was out collecting the car from the Red Lion after the previous evening's partying I got a good look at it as we drove past. It was yet another BADGER that had been killed by a car! I had not seen them here before then 2 dead in as many weeks! On telling my Dad he said that he & my Mum had often seen them running round at night around the stretch between the Marchmont Arms & N Gadebridge Park football pitches, including going through the gate to the rough area next to the pub, so it seems they have been around there for longer than I'd realised.

As if this was sad enough, less than a minute later I saw a roadkill TAWNY OWL at the side of Leighton Buzzard Road at Piccotts End, just across from the village. When driving past only about an hour later it had gone, either picked up by someone or dragged away to be scavenged on by some opportunistic creature.

9 MALLARD Ducklings with mother at Water Gardens opp. market - my First of the Spring.


9 MALLARD Ducklings with mother at Water Gardens opp. market - my First of the Spring, though uncomfortably close to loitering Herring Gull.



3rd Summer HERRING GULL at Water Gardens opp. market.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Male REEVES' PHEASANT seen again at Gaddesden Row today, NW of the Old Chequers Inn.


Male REEVES' PHEASANT seen again at Gaddesden Row today - still in same general area since last report on 17th of February. Original report > HERE <.



RED KITE at Gadebridge Park

KESTREL over back of Valley Green, Woodhall Farm

2 LITTLE EGRETS between road bridges at Water End - then probably same birds at flood meadow beside Nettleden Road couple of hours later.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Unfortunate Roadkill BADGER by Link Road at E end of Howe Grove, Highfield.


Unfortunate Roadkill BADGER by Link Road at E end of Howe Grove, Highfield (the closest I've seen one to town in a long time, the last being one running from Gade Valley School into Cavendish School, Gadebridge, C.11 years ago) - others recently on A41 near Phasels Wood & Boxted/Berkhamstead Road, Warners End - at least it shows we still have them locally post cull.

[Since then another has been run over in the same area - details > HERE <.]



TREECREEPER at Valley Green, Woodhall Farm

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

C.600 COMMON GULLS (mainly Adults) on fields N of Great Gaddesden this morning!


C.600 COMMON GULLS at Great Gaddesden - probably same 600 strong loose flock often seen flying S over Piccotts End & Gadebridge Park during the Autumn & Winter months.


Part of the flock of C.600 COMMON GULLS at Great Gaddesden.

Part of the flock of C.600 COMMON GULLS at Great Gaddesden.




2 BUZZARDS calling & displaying over Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.

3 BUZZARDS (2 Displaying) over Howe Grove, Highfield.

2 RED KITES at Great Gaddesden

LITTLE EGRET between road bridges at Water End - probably bird from Nettleden Road seen earlier.

GREEN WOODPECKER calling at Water End

C.3 REED BUNTINGS, C.8 FIELDFARE over S & SPARROWHAWK at Water End flood meadows.


1 (Male) of C.3 REED BUNTINGS at Water End flood meadows.

 
1 of C.8 FIELDFARE over Water End flood meadows.




LITTLE EGRET at flooded field just beside Nettleden Road, Water End.

4 GADWALL, C.20 TEAL, RED KITE, 4 BUZZARDS & KESTREL at Great Gaddesden.


4 GADWALL at Great Gaddesden - a few of the recent group still holding on with the Teal - some years a couple of pairs stay in the Great Gaddesden & Water End area to breed but only if water levels are decent enough.



Monday, 3 March 2014

2 (Pair) LAPWINGS holding territory at Eastbrook Hay - seen from fields behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.

C.50 LINNETS singing together in tree-tops at Holtmere End Lane behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm - sounding more like 100 birds!


C.50 LINNETS singing together in sun-bathed tree-tops at Holtmere End Lane behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm - sounding more like 100 birds & weather possibly making them think about disbursal from the Winter flock for breeding.



Quite a few SKYLARKS about including singing birds at fields N of Woodhall Farm & Grovehill.

YELLOWHAMMERS including 2 starting to sing at Holtsmere End Lane behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.

RED KITE at Eastbrook Hay

2 (Pair) RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGES & 2 (Pair) BUZZARDS at Lovett's End.

RAVEN at Eastbrook Hay just N of Grovehill - seen cruising the area & perched on pylon, from fields behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.


RAVEN at Eastbrook Hay - this bird not just passing through but seemed to be patrolling the area.



GREEN WOODPECKER calling at fields behind Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Flock of Est.80-150 GOLDEN PLOVERS very fast ENE past Valley Green, Woodhall Farm.


GOLDEN PLOVER flock at Woodhall Farm - my First in this area.