Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Chase for Migrants continues

Late Friday afternoon Lewis arrived and news of a Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher at Stockers and Bury Lake respectively was good news. Anna Marett and Joan Thomson continued their purple
patch but at 1500hrs we could not locate the Wood Warbler,a good number of birders were struggling
I returned home then came back later around1600hrs .Andrew Moon got onto it by its sub call and
managed some photos and I at least had good views of it in the Hawthorn.
Thanks to Andrew for the photo,also of note a pair of Bullfinch put in an appearance.
The following morning I awoke early I was not sleeping well,got on the bike to Stockers
farm where the reported Common Sandpiper was on the flooded field showing well.
Along the road I saw fellow birder Graham Higgins we chatted briefly and we were soon viewing
a Yellow Wagtail.
As Graham left he commented he thought he heard a Grasshopper warbler near the lock.
Moving through the farm yard the Swallows were active.
The grasshopper warbler reeled and showed briefly for John Waugh the lock keeper and
myself then I walked across the causeway between Bury and Stockers.
Cettis ,Reed and Sedge warblers obiged with Blackcaps and a singing Blackbird.
On Sunday I walked to Woodoaks farm  with Sarah and Ted the dog we were lucky to see
Lesser Whitethroat which Paul Lewis had reported earlier.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Migrants on the Moor

On Croxley Moor Joan Thomson and Anna Marett were having a red letter day with the migrants,
first up a spendid Whinchat posed for them in the scattered Hawthorn.
Next the highly mobile female Redstart showed in patches avidly feeding.
Also good numbers of Whitethroats obliged in the scrub some pairing up in

Finally the lucky ladys heard and saw Wood warbler at Stockers Well Done Girls.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

yesterday at Maple Lodge

I  rang my mate Lewis but apparently he is Tom and Dick so walked to the reserve on a fairly
reasonable morning on arrival Geoff Laptop was there,he had been to Croxley Moor earlier that
morning. I walked off to the Rotunda where the female Mallard had four juveniles in tow.
On route back Blackthorn  and Hawthorn was coming in to flower as I passed the

I  met Tony rod Hulls with Geoff in the Rotunda but not much doing there apart from
a female Mute swan nest building.
Towards the sluice Chiff chaff,Willow warbler and Blackcap were singing and on the floor
a carpet of Violets.
From Long Hedge hide a Great crested grebe with a 4oz silver fish probably a Roach or
Dace struggled to swallow it ,while a few Tufteds and displaying Gadwalls obliged.
Finally a Common Buzzard gave exceptional views overhead from the hide.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Spring morning with St Albans RSPB at Maple Lodge

After a successfull talk in St Albans I was lucky enough to guide 24 people around Maple Lodge
along with Keith Pursall.We split in to two groups and set off for the Rotunda hide on route I had
noted goldfinch and singing Mistle thrush on route to the reserve.
A few distant Teal were seen from Rotunda and nearby a Chiffchaff  was calling.Moving on to the
flooded woodland.
Amongst some conifers a single Goldcrest showed well calling prior to us viewing from
the fairly new Teal hide.

From the hide a good variety of duck obliged notably Tufted , a pair of Mallard with up to four
young passed across the water in front of us.A great view of Gadwall alighting and at rest was
When they took off we had great views of their underwings in great light.
On route to the sluice our first Willow warbler,then in to the Paddock some  had Red kite and
Sparrowhawk overhead,for yours truly in the Alders a single Lesser Redpoll. From Lynsters hide
five Egyptian geese were on the adjacent fields.
Next up Long Hedge hide produced a pair of Pochard the male in resplendant plumage.
The regular Great crested grebe showed at a distance,we retraced our steps down Long Hedge
noting Willow warbler and a Blackcap,back though the wet woodland Lesser Celandine was coming
The icing on the cake was a Tree creeper with nest material.
So it was good bye to St Albans RSPB who had enjoyed their visit to Maple Lodge.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Fly Fishing at Ashmere Middlesex

After the last days of winter I was looking forward to Croxley Green Fly Fishers annual sojourn
to Ashmere,last year I missed out due to work so as Richard and I passed through Mill End I saw
my first Swallow of the year,next up Derek at Rickmansworth before junction 17 slip road
where two dodgy Asian characters looked to be carjacking.
The late afternoon sunshine waned as we made our way to Staines eventually arriving a little
early opposite Shepperton  Marina.
A fairly lengthy queue ensued as most people arrived to beat the M25 madness around
We tackled up while waiting,the electric fence was twitching as a rod touched it and soon
we were being ushered in to the car park.

Jean Howman our host used to breed pheasants and wildfowl here ,but now it is a haven
for  wildbirds.
One must not forget Mike Humphries who has made this day possible ,car park
attendant extrodinaire ,he really must get a yellow viz jacket.
Mandarins and Tufted duck obliged as did some singing Chiff Chaffs two year ticks for me.
Fishing commenced around 1700 hrs and I soon had my first fish as did Derek.
A pair of Mute Swans were nesting and began territorial behaviour against the Canada
geese also of not a number of Egyptian geese . In the air the now familiar call of Ring
necked Parakeets ,screeching over the West London suburbs is common to anglers and
birdwatchers alike.
By 1900 hrs the threatened rain had arrived and we stopped for our evening meal, wine and
cheese followed by good natured banter ended a pleasant evening at Ashmere.