Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 numbers

We saw 193 different species of bird in 2012. Our life list is now up to 213.
We saw 187 different species of bird in 2011. Our life list was at 202 at the end of 2011.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hyde Park

We saw both the male and female Tawny Owls for the first time today. Both were in their usual positions. Apparently the female will disappear onto her nest soon for two months, so this may be our last sighting of her for a while. It's still so special to see the owls - they seem completely unconcerned by any human activity.

Tawny Owl (male)
Tawny Owl (female)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hitchin Barn Owl

We had brilliant views of a Barn Owl flying then perched in a tree on Graveley Road on the way home from Minsmere. We'd been watching the owl for about ten minutes when, to our amazement, the owl flew closer to our car and hovered by the road side (less than five metres from the car) for at least a minute before flying away. We couldn't believe it. I had the window open taking photos and the owl didn't seem in the least bit bothered. Our view of the owl was so clear in the car beam, but despite my photos failing to show how good the view was, I'm still chuffed with them. One of our best ever birdwatching moments.

RSPB Minsmere

We had a great day on the reserve and saw considerably more birds than we were expecting to see because of the strong wind. I saw my first Bittern of the year after waiting in the Bittern Hide for about 45 minutes. It flew up from the reeds in front of the hide and flew away from us then landed in the reeds but was hidden within a minute. Nevertheless, an amazing view. We saw a Goosander flying close to the shore at sea - a lifer for me! Other highlights included three Green Woodpeckers, three Goldcrest, a Marsh Tit, Brent Geese, lots of Marsh Harriers, a Pintail, Cetti's Warblers and Turnstones.

Goosander (male)
Goosander (male)
Brent Geese
Green Woodpeckers
Green Woodpecker
Marsh Harrier
Great-spotted Woodpecker
Marsh Tit
Marsh Tit & Blue Tits
Coal Tit
Blue Tit & Great Tit

Great Tits

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Purwell Ninesprings

I saw a Kingfisher on the reserve for the first time in at least three years. I probably viewed the bird for less than a second but the flash of blue was enough for identify it. It's nice to know that they're still on the reserve. There was a pair of Siskin in a large flock (up to 100 birds) of Goldfinches. Also, good views of Woodpeckers and a Jay.

Female Siskin (top) & male (bottom)

Sunday, 23 December 2012



Lea Valley

A Kingfisher, three Goldcrest, two Treecreepers and a Weasel were the highlights. They were all too quick to be photographed unfortunately!

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Hyde Park

One of the Tawny Owls was in it's usual tree but not where we usually see it - best view we've had of one. Lots of Ring-necked Parakeets, Jays and a Red Crested Pochard.

We bumped into Ralph Hancock today. He writes a fantastic blog which he updates every day with photos and news from Hyde Park. It's definitely worth a view...

Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Ring-necked Parakeet

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hitchin Waxwings

A nice surprise at Oughtonhead Common this afternoon. I took this photo with my mobile. I can't recall ever seeing Waxwings reported in Hitchin before.

17 in total, making the weekend total 38!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Woburn Waxwings

What a bird. I was sitting less than five metres from a tree with 21 of them at the top. A few of them would fly down at a time and feed on the berries for a few minutes before flying back to the top. Perfect photographic opportunity. There were also hundreds of Redwing and Fieldfare along bushes on the road going into Woburn.