Thursday, 30 June 2011

Butterflies in the fields behind the RSSKL (29th June)

Whilst walking Theo behind the RSSKL I came across several species of butterfly including 5+ Marbled White, dozens of Meadow Browns, 3+ Ringlets, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Large White but surprisingly no Small Skippers.  1 Red Kite was also near the school and 1 Sparrowhawk flew over me in the sheep field.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Ringing at Westbrook Hay Boxmoor Wildlife Trust and Longdean (26th June)


At ringing on Sunday we caught 12nd year  Chaffinch (which unfortunately had wart growths on its feet, which despite being non-fatal can lead to further more harmful diseases entering the body, also these cases often occur in areas where domestic chickens are also kept, unsurprisingly a farm containing chickens was said to be just up the road from the Westbroock Hay Boxmoor Wildlife Trust), 2 juv. Great Tits and 1 Dunnock.


After the ringing I was picked up around 8:30 and went straight to Long Dean local Wildlife Trust.  Despite the lack of birds there is a huge number of Butterfly Species and even a small area with a dozen+ Pyramidal Orchids.  The wide range and number of Butterfly species included dozens of Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Skipper and a Ringlet.

Pyramidal Orchid

Marbled White


Saturday, 25 June 2011

KL Woods

Whilst walking the dog through the Woods I came across 3 Red Admirals and 1 Green Woodpecker (followed by a siting of two later in the day from my back garden).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Fields behind RSSKL

Just came back from walk with Theo.  There were a good variety of raptors around including a Red Kite, 2 Kestrels, and 1 Sparrowhawk heading towards Langley Hill.  I also had a Marbled White Butterfly near the footbridge by the A41.  Other butterflies included Meadow Brown and Small Skipper.

Twitch for the Black-crowned Night Heron at Stockers Lake (20 and 21 June)

After getting the news of a Black-crowned Night Heron at Stockers lake on the 19th June I headed down to the lake after school on the following day and arrived at around 3:40pm.  Unfortunately, no records were submitted since 1:50 when it was last reported, and apparently it had been seen departing the reserve later the previous day (as a result the mixed messages didn't help).  I didn't find the bird, however, other commoner birds around on the 21st June included Great Crested Grebe, Common Terns, 2 (possibly 3) Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Reed Warbler (with 2 chicks) and a pair of Sedge Warbler (also with 2 hicks).

Afternoon Walk Around my local patch (19 June)

I had a good walk around KL Woods and the fields behind the RSSKL.  I left at around 1:30 and the walk only lasted for about 3 hours however in the woods I found a Treecreeper, Nuthatches, Jays, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Blackcaps, and a Bullfinch as well as a Red Admiral.  Behind the RSSKL I had Whitethroat, 1 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard, Skylarks, Yellowhammers, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Stock Doves, Swifts, Swallows, and House Martins were also hawking over the fields. The highlight was a find of a family of 3 Little Owls (consisting of 1 adult and 2 juvenile birds), the nest must also have been close by as they did not seem to be able to move far since they were still flightless.

2 juvenile Little Owls

adult Little Owl

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Local Walk around KL and Hemel Area

I started out at around 6:40 this morning and headed first of all into the KL Common Woods were I heard both Green Woodpeckers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers near the center of the wood.  I also came across occasional Song Thrushes and singing Goldcrests and Blackcaps (all males).  On the edge of the cricket pitch near the cross roads I also saw 1 Grey Wagtail.  Next I took the path to the right behind the RSSKL were I encountered 2 Greenfinches (very little in comparison to Thursday when I saw 1 Swallow and a small flock of House Martins).  I then went behind the KLS School along Barnes Lane.  Here I saw occasional flocks of Starling, singing Whitethroats, the road after the underpass by the A41 had several singing Yellowhammers and 5 singing Skylarks.  I then headed towards Phasels Wood Scout Camp were I saw 2 Red Kites and 1 Buzzard.  I continued to walk towards the south end of Hemel were I took a round turn back towards Shendish Manor Golf Course were I heard Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroats singing.  The wild meadows were excellent habitats for the first active flying butterflies of the day including Meadow Brown and Small Skipper.  The Horse fields behind Shendish also had large numbers of Birdsfoot Trefoil and wild clovers (another staple diet for butterflies).

Bury Lake (15th June)

Whilst at Bury Lake I saw 1 Grey Wagtail on the jetty, 18 Canada Geese Goslings, 2 Mute Swan Goslings and 1 Great Crested Grebe.  I also saw my first fledgling Common Tern already hunting over the water together with dozens of adult Common Terns.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ringing at Westbrook Hay Boxmoor Trust and Tyttenhanger (11th June)


I got up at 4am yesterday morning to arive at Westbrook Hay Boxmoor Wildlife Trust to have my first trial run for ringing.  The experience was amazing to have a live bird in the hand and be able to handle it so easily and observe the intricate details such as the flight feathers, the brood patch, and differences between adult and juvenile birds.  We caute and ringed 2 Great Tits (1 juv. 1 ad. female) and 1♂ Blackcap (the third to be caute at this site in the past 6 years apparantly) in the period of 2 hours between 5:30 and 7:30.  Despite a small catch we were able to occupy ourselves with the common woodland birds that were singing and calling around us such as Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Blackcaps and Goldcrests.


Later in the morning around 11am.  I went to Tyttenhanger were I first visited the surrounding farmland around The Plantation.  2 Red Kites were over the fields as well as 100's of Sand Martins heading from the quarrying area onto the disused gravel pits and 6 Red-legged Partridges were also skulking through the fields.  Soon after arriving at the main pit, 2 Hobbies flew in and began catching dragonflies low over the water.  Dozens of Lapwings were on the spit as well as 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a pair of Shoveler and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Towards Park Corner I saw 1 Cuckoo calling briefly before it was spooked by a Carrion Crow.  Other birds of note around the site were 1 Garden Warbler, occasional Blackcaps, 1 Kestrel, 2 flocks of Stock Dove 7 and 9 birds, Linnets and by Tyttenhanger Farm I saw 2 Tree Sparrows perched on electricity cables too far away for certain ID.

Meadow Brown

Small Heath

Meadow Brown

Small White

Small White

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hobby in Cassiobury Park

On the way through the park this morning at 8:05 I had a Hobby circle over the path that leads between Stratford Way and Shepherds Road.  On the bus journey back towards Kings Langley I saw a Red Kite circle over the the houses in Rockcliffe Ave.

Bury Lake (8th May)

Went sailing yesterday at Bury Lake only for a short period from roughly 2:15 to 2:45 as it soon started to rain heavily.  The highlights were 4 Grey Wagtails on the launching jetty, 15+ Ring-necked Parakeets in a small flock, 2 Mute Swan Cygnets, with dozens of adults around the perimeter of the lake and a creche of 14 cygnet Canada Geese.  Several Common Terns were also over the water.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Fields Behind The RSSKL (7th May)

Went behind the school fields towards Middle Farm.  On the way I encountered 2 Buzzards (possibly the same bird), 1 Red Kite, occasional Skylarks, 1 Whitethroat (cowering in a hedge) and 3 Stock Doves on the farm.  4-5 Swallows were also flying around the farm buildings but I did not see any attending to a nest.  On the way back through Ordnance Wood I came across an amazing Large Skipper, which landed close to the path and provided an ideal photographic opportunity.

 Large Skipper in Ordnance Wood

If anyone could ID these plants I would be very grateful

Friday, 3 June 2011

College Lake Volunteering

Today was an amazing day out at College Lake were my brother and I help with conservation work on Pitstone Fen, the heath/grassland to the east of College Lake.  We started by constructing a wire fence around the field in order to accommodate livestock that would manage the landscape.  The field was literally covered in Common Spotted Orchids.  After lunch we were privileged enough to have a walk around the grassland and wet meadow area in the trench to the east of the fen.  Here we found a greater variety and abundance of orchids including more Common Spotted Orchids, Southern Marsh Orchids, and 3 Bee Orchids (in full flower!!!).  There where fewer birds around but Willow Warblers and 1 Cuckoo were calling close by.  Other flowers that we came across include Marsh Helleborine and Twayblade.  My best find of the day was a fantastic Hawk moth, an amazing Eyed Hawk Moth, which was crouching in the middle of the path and was luckily prevented from being trodden on, unfortunately I hadn't brought my camera.  The breeding Little Ringed Plover pair have recently abandoned their nest, presumably due to the eggs being infertile which haven't hatched in the 4 week period that it usually takes, as a result they have begun making a new scrape in the visitor centre of the gravel spit in front of the octagon hide.  1 Lapwing chick was seen (the lack of chicks is presumed to be due to the shortness of the grass which has allowed most of the chicks to be predated).  Redshanks are still on the marsh in good numbers and 1 Hobby also flew onto the reserve from the west.

 Common Spotted Orchid along the path leading to the octagon hide
 Bee Orchid in flower on the left of the path leading to the octagon hide from the centre

Little Ringed Plover

 LRP pair making a new scrape


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Wendover Woods and Wilstone

A good trip to Wendover were several farmland birds were along the roads and surrounding farmland along the way to Wendover including Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Linnet, Pheasant, Bullfinches and singing Willow Warblers.


I left the house around 6:45 and cycled to Wendover Woods were I hoped to see the resident population of Firecrests.  Unfortunately I made some drastic navigation errors and added several extra miles onto my trip unintentionally which made me even later.  I eventually did arrive at 9:45 after cycling a grueling 20 miles there.  I even got lost after I arrived at the wood, but still saw a fair amount of birds along the Firecrest Trail including a small flyover flock of the 3+ resident Crossbills.  Closer to the Go Ape huts I encountered a Spotted Flycatcher followed by some commoner resident species such as Nuthatches, Tits and and some migrant warblers including singing Garden Warbler, Willow Wrabler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap1 high flyover Red Kite was also present and on my second round walk of the Firecrest Trail (this time not pushing my bike, thankfully) I think I heard 2 Firecrests and in the plantations near the centre of the wood Whitethroats were singing followed by a Red Fox that skulked into the undergrowth.  Back in the car park I was extremely grateful to see two small parties of 5+, 4 and a single female Common Crossbill fly over the trees, calling in flight.  1 pair and a juvenile Common Crossbills also remained in the coneferous trees in the car park and enabled me to get excellent views (amazing birds!!!).  The photos aren't top quality but the views I still got lifted my spirits for the rest of the day.

female Crossbill, best bird I've seen in a car park by far

 juvenile bird following parents

stunning male Crossbill

 adult male preening


My second stop of the day was at Wilstone were I made a short visit from around 2pm just to check the variety of birds present.  There was very little about and most of the wildfowl had dwindled to a very low local population.  c.40 Common Terns were around the reservoir and chicks could already be seen on one of the tern rafts.  3 Hobbies were hawking over the reservoir at one point providing excelent views meters away from the hide.  Other birds of note were a dozen Lapwing, 4 Little Egrets (in the willows to the left of the hide) and a brief view of a Kingfisher along the western side of the reservoir.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Barnes Lane and Scatterdells Wood

This morning I went out to get some footage of the local wildlife.  My main aim was to film the woodland and Farmland surrounding Scatterdells Wood as well as the breeding species.  I managed to film 1 of the 4 Yellowhammer along the road, 1 Whitethroat (withmore singing from cover), 1 Kestrel also flew over the wood and I managed to film the a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest (with both adults attending the nest, they both used the tactic of both approaching the nest whilst one flew of again and the other provided the food in order to create the distraction).  A Green Woodpecker and Nuthatches were heard and 1 Red Kite circled low over the horse fields along Chipperfield Road followed by 1 Buzzard over the A41.