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

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

HEMEL MEGA: Updated total of 13+ BROWN ARGUS BUTTERFLIES at Bovingdon Brickworks...

http://boxmoornature.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/week-32-brown-argus-extra-whos-who.html

Monday, 18 August 2014

HOBBY over horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End.

RAVEN over horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End - heading over Highpark Wood.

SWIFT over W at Nettleden Road

HEMEL MEGA: WHINCHAT with 2 WHEATEARS at horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End.


1st Winter WHINCHAT with 2 WHEATEARS at horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Road, Water End.

This is only the 3rd Whinchat I have seen in the Hemel area & as far I know only the 3rd record too.

Here are the two best shots I managed of the Whinchat when, with the Wheatears, it was flushed by something & it flew in my direction into cover along the footpath on the S side (top of slope) of the paddock. The light was very dim due to the huge black clouds going over so I'm afraid they aren't the sharpest of shots. I'll post the rest with more details soon...

1st Winter WHINCHAT at Water End
1st Winter WHINCHAT at Water End



2+ WILLOW WARBLERS with LONG-TAILED TITS in crop field behind Grovehill Playing Fields.

1+ YELLOW WAGTAIL over horse paddock at W end of Nettleden Rd., Water End.

Friday, 15 August 2014

6 SWIFTS W over Two Waters / Boxmoor

C.2 BULLFINCHES calling from hedge bordering garden at N Gadebridge Park football pitches.

HEMEL MEGA: TREE PIPIT S over Bennetts End, 9.10


Ian Bennell had a TREE PIPIT flying S over his garden in Bennetts End at 9.10 this morning - this is the First definite sighting in the Hemel area.



2 SWALLOWS passing me as close as 2 metres, GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER & JAY at N Gadebridge Park.

2 (pair) STOCK DOVES aerial displaying at N Gadebridge Park football pitches.

Juvenile LITTLE EGRET N through Gadebridge Park - same bird as at Chaulden / Boxmoor yesterday or another new local individual?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

New LITTLE EGRET in town - Juvenile at Box Moor Trust's Gadespring Cress Beds, Chaulden / Boxmoor.


This is the first Juvenile LITTLE EGRET recorded in the Hemel area, which confirms that this is also a new individual to the area as only Adult birds have been recorded so far. It was standing in a small tree with a GREY HERON beside the canal at the Box Moor Trust's Gadespring Cress Beds at Old Fishery Lane, Chaulden / Boxmoor. It later stood on the footpath at the cress beds, before moving into the thick of the vegetation out of sight. The whole time it seemed relaxed & unperturbed by my presence, not at all wary like many of the local adult birds, even the tamer ones.

Perhaps this youngster has made its way along the canal from Tring Reservoirs to the NW, or Stockers Lake to the SE, where Little Egrets now breed.

I will post the photos shortly.



C.15 SWALLOWS, Male KESTREL, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, GREEN WOODPECKER, 2 BROWN RATS, baby RABBIT, & RED ADMIRAL Butterfly with SMALL TORTOISESHELLS, at Box Moor Trust Old Barn, Westbrook Hay.

Friday, 8 August 2014

BULLFINCH, COMMON TERN & KINGFISHER at Piccotts End Pools this Morning


Male LINNET at Piccotts End Pools.
Male LINNET's beautiful rosey breeding plumage.

During a fairly quick visit to Piccotts End Pools before work this morning I saw the following birds of note...

White-headed moulting MISTLE THRUSH at Gadebridge Park


This MISTLE THRUSH must have been a particularly white-looking juvenile but with regular colouring to its new adult feathers. It appeared both obviously white-headed & small-headed even at distance due to its moult. It showed regular adult plumage below the shoulders, very white juvenile feathers across the chest & speckled through the mantle, & moulted out juvenile head feathers with adult feathers yet to grow through. (Thanks to Samuel Perfect for noting that particularly white juvenile feathers do not necessarily mean the bird shows any leucism.)

White-headed Juvenile to Adult moulting MISTLE THRUSH at Gadebridge Park



TREECREEPER calling from trees bordering (E) Gadebridge Lane, Gadebridge Park.

COMMON TERN at Piccotts End Pools

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Female NOBLE FALSE WIDOW SPIDER at Corner Hall offices


As far as I know this is the first definite sighting locally of the 'dreaded' NOBLE FALSE WIDOW Spider (Steatoda nobilis). It was on the inside of a wheelie-bin lid at my office in Corner hall. Usually sightings transpire to actually be either the Lace Web Spider (Amaurobius species) or Missing Sector Orb Weaver Spider (Zygiella x-notata) which do both show a resemblance. Despite the Noble False Widow being venomous, it's bite causing pain, swelling, redness, nausea & allergic reactions to some, it is extremely unlikely to bite in the first place, only doing so when it feels threatened such as when handled roughly, squashed, or caught between clothing & skin.

Female NOBLE FALSE WIDOW Spider (Steatoda nobilis)
in wheelie-bin lid at Corner Hall offices
(Click to enlarge)



Friday, 1 August 2014

3 COMMON TERNS flying around Corner Hall & Two Waters - inc. recently fledged Juvenile.


Very surprised to see such a recently fledged Juvenile COMMON TERN. Did this bird fledge locally & the usual lingering pair(?) of Terns have finally bred in Hemel, perhaps at Durrant's Hill Fishery, Two Waters?