Saturday, 24 December 2011

Local Patch Birding

Started out at c.8:00am today for a walk around my local patch to try and add some new species to the local patch list.  The weather helped as the cloud cover 2/3 was relatively thin and there was little prospect of rain, despite the ground being very saturated with the last few days of heavy rainfall.  The wind was also calmer than usual, 1/3 coming from the west.  Yesterdays strong northerly winds did raise my hopes for a hopefully late migrant of course such as a Rough-legged Buzzard or Med. Gull on the fisheries but unfortunately neither occurred.


The first bird after leaving the house was a Green Woodpecker, feeding on the western edge of the Kings Langley Common, before it noticed me and headed for the trees.  There was more activity than usual today with a significant increase in the occurrence of Redwing in Kings Langley Woods as well as a calling Goldcrest, 1 Jay, 1 calling Skylark and another Goldcrest in the Village high street.


I made my way to the lakes directly after leaving the Kings Langley Woods, on the way passing through the Primrose Hill Playing Field, that neighbour the canal and waited in expectation of Siskin to come and feed in the several alder trees that line the western edge of the park.  A single Great Spotted Woodpecker flew past as I waited, however after a little patients several small flocks of Siskin congregated in the alders and soon amounted to 22+ SISKIN.  The Lakes were mainly inhabited by 44+ Black-headed Gulls and 6 ad. win. and 1st win. Common Gulls.  Also of note were 2 Song Thrushes, 2 Pochard, 11 Tufted Ducks, 1 Cormorant, and two local patch ticks, a Little Grebe and 2 Gadwall (1ad., 1ad.).  From the viewing area (a small gap in the hedgerows overlooking the lake) I also saw 10+ more Siskin, however, I did not count this towards the total as they may have been the same birds which I had previously seen.


On my return through Kings Langley Woods 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 1 calling Nuthatch and a prob. calling Siskin were the only birds of note before I reached Barnes Lane.


The first horse field NE of the entrance to Barnes Lane, had attracted douzens of Redwing and even my first Fieldfare of the day, as well as several other species such as Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chaffinches.  As usual, the fields after the A41 bridge were most productive producing a flock of 7 Yellowhammer, the usual, yet diminishing flock of 40-50 Skylarks (amongst them the usual single Linnet), 1 Kestrel, and another small flock of 6+ Linnet at the western corner of the field near the paint-balling location.


My next plan was to catch up on the local resident Marsh Tits, which I have encountered on two previous occasions in Scattedells Wood.  Unfortunately, once I arrive at the usual spot, the far western extent of the wood, there was no sign of any.  Scattedells Wood seems an ideal location for the 100's of Woodpigeons, but were easily spooked by my presence, perhaps due to their growing fear of man caused by the regular Gunmen frequent the area, will they please find something better to do with their time.  Anyway, a single Buzzard was the closest I got to my anticipation for a Rough-legged but other birds of note were 2 SISKIN and 3 Bullfinches in the dead pine trees.  I was extremely pleased when I heard the distinctive call of a single MARSH TIT, fortunately I can now add this species to my local patch (a list comprising of all bird seen within a mile of my house).  I also obtained some bad sound recording of the Marsh Tit, giving the classic nazzle "PTseew"

a very bad sound recording of the Marsh Tit, calling (+ seen) in the coniferous area of Scatterdells Wood,

The final flurry of bird activity on my outing was a large swathe of Fieldfare that took flight near Chipperfield Road, following a single gunshot, a clear highlight to how many birds usually go unnoticed and how shooting causes widespread disturbance to important species that are trying to feed up for the winter.
(Samuel Perfect)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Barnes Lane (17th December)

The Large flock of Skylarks that I encountered yesterday drew me back again today in the hope of finding a rarity such as a Lapland Bunting amongst their ranks.  The bird variety was much the same as yesterday, with occasional Redwing and Fieldfare as well as a calling Green Woodpecker and a single Song Thrush in the playing field behind the KL School.  After the A41 bridge there were more birds to behold including yesterdays flock of Skylarks, they have now split into two roughly equal groups (one consisting of 80+ birds), the first in the right hand field close to the A41 and the second in the same field but closer to the paint-balling location.  Amongst them were 15+ Linnets and 7 Pied Wagtails.  Unfortunately, searching for the hoped Lapland Bunting was more difficult today as they were largely hidden amongst the stubble, unlike yesterday when they were feeding more in the open.  Also of note was 1 Yellowhammer, and a 2 Red Kites, circling together over Phasels Wood.  Other raptors included 2+ Buzzards (with more individuals, possibly the same birds seen on other separate occasions), 1Kestrel (putting up a good chase with the Skylarks and making a few close catches) and a Sparrowhawk.  The highlight undoubtedly was the unexpected sight of 8 probable WHITE-FRONTED GEESE flying in a NE direction, towards Berkhampstead in a triangular formation, hopefully they'll drop in at Tring Reservoirs today or tomorrow to confirm my record.

Despite being quite distant, making size comparison rather difficult, they appeared smaller than the usual Greylag Geese and more slender necked.  The White forehead was clearly visible as they flew towards me (although hidden at a side on view and from behind).  From underneath the distinct wide and thick dark brown/black baring on the belly was clearly visible covering the paler brown/grey belly and chest.  The brown colouration became darker towards the head and was darkest (nearly black) bordering the white forehead).  The underside of the wings were rather plain dark brown (although I paid little attention to them, they did not appear to have any distinct markings).  The vent, undertail coverts and underside of the tail were pure white.  The white vent extended slightly into the lower chest were it appeared to be "cut off" by two dark bars on the lower part of the chest, nearly separating it from the white vent.  The uppertail was only glimpsed and appeared dark brown/black.
(Samuel Perfect)

Barnes Lane (16th December)

My first day of for the winter holidays (starting out at 10:00am), which I decided to spend by visiting Barnes Lane to catch up on the flocks of Skylarks and Linnets that I had seen on my previous visit.

Cloud 2/3
Wind 1-2/3 (westerly blowing snow into my face for the first half hour of my visit)

It was the first time this winter that it had snowed in our region and much of the ground was covered in a thin layer of snow, not to mention the frozen ground, although much of it had melted by my return at 12:00pm.  This change in the weather must clearly result in a change in the bird life which I hoped I might encounter.  Unsurprisingly, More Redwings were of note and were also more approachable as they seemed more concentrated on feeding.  Past the A41 bridge along Barnes Lane the bird life realy kicked of with 100+ Skylarks taking to the sky and whirling around in flight for long periods at a time before choosing to land closer to Badgerdell (the paint-balling location) with a single Linnet amongst their ranks.  3 Lapwing were also resting on a bare patch on the stubble field to the right of Barnes Lane (a rarity in this part of the county).  Also of note were 2 Yellowhammers, 1 Kestrel and a total of 25+ Fieldfare (with several more individuals seen on the return).  Most unusual, being only my second record for this area was a probable flock of 17 GOLDEN PLOVER, in flight, near Badgerdell, they seemed to be heading in my direction (flying NE) but unfortunately I lost them as the large flock of Skylarks, Woodpigeons, and corvids flew infront and obstructed my view.  In addition, 1 Red Kite was also over the farmland as were several Black-headed Gulls accompanied by occasional Common Gulls.
(Samuel Perfect)

Fields behind the RSSKL (12th December)

Decided to walk the dog (Theo) behind the RSSKL after coming back from school were a moderate passage totaling 83+ Fieldfare (all but 1 flying in a ESE direction).  Also of note were the growing numbers of 40+ Chaffinches in the first field behind the RSSKL, 2 Kestrels (1 being mobbed by a Carrion Crow), 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Pheasant and 58+ Black-headed Gulls going to roost in a SE direction (possibly at the Kings Langley Fisheries).
(Samuel Perfect)

Peacock (1st December)


I am very surprised to have a hibernating Peacock that has taken up temporary residence on my bedroom windowsill.  Now it's a task of not accidentally hitting it.

 feeding on the squashed banana that I laid out

(Samuel Perfect)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Strike Day (30th November)


The strike day was very well spent, however not on revision.  I decided to get up early to check the post-gull-roost that I pass almost each day in the bus, which has risen in number since the beginning of autumn.  I was down at the field by c.7:20am and soon after arriving 25 Common Gulls flew in with only 8 Black-headed Gulls.  However within 10-15 minutes numbers were reaching 100 as Common Gull numbers past 45 at 7:45 and soon reached 66+ Common Gulls at 7:50am.  Surprisingly though Black-headed Gulls were in much more minimal numbers and totaled only around 20+ Black-headed Gulls.  Other Gulls of note included 3 ad. Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and a late arriving ad. win. Herring Gull.  As well as the gulls other species were rather less common, with only 1 Skylark heard, 1 Song Thrush7 Long-tailed Tits1 Fieldfare and a large flock of 200-300 Woodpigeons over the M25 junction 20, numbers of gulls started to decrease around 8:15 and by 8:30am all had left, mostly in a northerly direction.


Whilst walking Theo (our dog) through the KL Woods between 10:30-11:00am 3 Skylarks were heard, as well as several calling Redwing in the holly bushes at the center of the wood.  A very small murmuration of Starlings had also congregated with the calling Redwing in the holly bushes although I saw none.  2 Song Thrushes were noted in our back-garden.


In the early afternoon I went collecting holly to make an advent wreath with my sister down Barnes Lane, also had secretly in mind to check out the resident Little Owls.  Unfortunately we only had a short glimpse of aLittle Owl fly down the avenue of poplar trees.  However, the definite highlight was the sight of douzens of Yellowhammers and Skylarks in the manure strewn fields after passing under the A41.  The weedy patches and stubble in the field was also attracting 50+ Linnet to feed in the field, in turn attracting a Kestrel, on occasions making several attacks at the flock although none were seen to have been caught.  1 Buzzard was also seen and a group of 40+ Gulls were noted in the half plowed field north east of Scatterdells Wood, presumably the same that I had scanned this morning over the A4251 fields.
(Samuel Perfect)

RSSKL fields (27th November)

Not a bad dog walk behind the RSSKL, the highlight being the increase in number and variety of several farmland bird species including an assembly of 10+ Chaffinches and totals of 4 Yellowhammers and 5 Skylarks.  Moderate winds also aided the movement of several other species over the area including 1 Common Gull, 8 Fieldfare followed by a flock 30+ Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush and a single Red Kite.  Other species of note included 1 Grey Heron, a murder of 43 Crows, including Rooks and Jackdaws feeding in the usual cow field after the A41 and a very tame Wood Mouse was sat on the metal post in the kissing gate, near the A41, and remained stationary even after two dog walkers and a joggers passed through the gate as well as me standing very close sketching it.  The metal was evidently a beneficial find as it was radiating more heat than the ground providing the mouse with beneficial energy to begin foraging.
(Samuel Perfect)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Behind the RSSKL

Today I went for a walk with my brother behind the RSSKL. We were walking for about 2 minutes and then we saw a flock of 8+ Linnets they flow in front of us until they landed not more than 10m away. we tried finding them through the scope so as to look at there plumage. While we were watching them we also heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and saw a skylark. We went on seeing a few birds fly over and then we saw a whole flock of up to 40 Redwings, Fieldfares, and Starlings. Later in the same field we also saw a flock of 14 Goldfinches which also landed and allowed us to take a closer look at them through the scope. We carried on and saw some Woodpigeons in fairly large flocks just sitting around not doing much. When we got to another field we suddenly heard a Meadow Pipit flying over we looked around but just could not find it later another one flow in our field of vision and we could tell it was Meadow Pipit by its call. In the same field we saw some more Woodpigeons and we wanted to count them so we set up the scope to get a accurate number. We carried on scanning and my brother found a Red Kite sitting in a dead treethere was also a Rook which sat next to it most of the time. The way back was not as eventful.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Local Patch

Starting at 8:00am and bringing Theo with me I walked through the KL Wood.  Most of the usual woodland birds are now feeding in large mixed flocks including a large group of Nuthatches, Blue/Great/Coal and Long-tailed Tit at the bottom of the woods.  Singing Wrens were also noted as was 1 Jay and a Great Spotted Woodpecker30+ House Martins were also at the bottom of the woods and were soon spooked by 2 flyover Buzzards.
My second outing of the day was behind the playing fields at the KL School at 10:30am were several more species were present including a Kestrel, 2 Swallows, 2 Yellowhammers, 1 Linnet, 1 juv. Green Woodpecker, c.10 Pied Wagtails, 30 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  I then headed down into the village were a strong wave of rain came over, luckily there was some cover at the canal which was brightened up by a first for my Kings Langley list, a Kingfisher.  Unfortunately, the views over the fishing lakes was very restricted so could only count 4 Tufted Ducks, c.10 Coot and 2 Mute Swans.  On returning through the KL Woods I came across 1 Treecreeper, 1 Nuthatch and surprisingly a Chiffchaff still giving small bursts of song.
(Samuel Perfect)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A different route around my local patch (11/9/11)

A relatively early morning start at 7:05am to Kings Langley Woods was relatively quiet except for a large increase to at least 41 Pied Wagtails on the cricket field.  2 Sparrowhawks also flew over me together at the bottom of the woods (clearly showing a difference in size indicating a male and female).  I was also very pleased to find the first recorded of nesting House Martins in the Kings Langley tetrad (TLOOR)!  There were at least two nests one being attended to by an adult in which I could hear the calls of a second bird inside the nest.  In adition 30+ House Martins were also swirling in a flock over the nesting site down Blackwell Road.  From the bottom of the village I headed back uphill via Toms Lane to the farmland near Numbers Farm.  2 Yellowhammers and 5 Mistle Thrushes were the first birds of note but bird activity didn't increase much until later in the morning when a flock of 14 Linnets and 1 Buzzard flew over.  When arriving at Parsonage Farm I turned right, back towards Kings Langley, encountered a group of 4 Jays, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Meadow Pipit, and a pair of Buzzards on the way towards to the RES organisation.  The Buzzards showed well for at least half an hour allowing me to make a detailed study and comparisons.  I also decided to sketch and take notes on the key facial features for gender and aging purposes.  A Sparrowhawk was also in the same hedgerow being mobbed by probably the same group of 4 Jays whilst a Green Woodpecker took flight to avoid the building confusion.  A Grey Wagtail was a highlight to the trip down along the River Gade seen from Home Park Mill Link Road.  Even better were 2 Hobbies (1 ad. 1 juv.) that I saw just south of the village roundabout over the A 4251 near Clapgate Farm.  A great step forward towards proving their local breeding status.
A walk with Theo (our dog) behind the KL School was also productive as I came across no less than 10 Yellow Wagtails (including 9 in the sheep fields neighboring Chipperfield Road and 1 flyover at the A41 bridge).  Also of note were 1 Red Kite and 1 Buzzard.
(Samuel Perfect)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Playing field behind the KL School (5th September)

I was glad to get out past 6pm this evening to go behind the KL School to check for any probable gull flocks after coming back from my first day of school this term.  Unfortunately on arriving the gulls decided to fly just  as I arrived after which they landed in the far southern corner of the playing field just out of sight.  However a few birds of note did pass through including 1 Hobby that flew low over the northern length of the field in a NNW direction, in the exact same direction that the previous Hobby took on the 23rd August.  After c.30 minutes the gull flock took flight again with half the flock deciding to remain at the back of the field whilst the rest flew east towards the canal and fishing lakes in the village.  The remaining flock only consisting of Black-headed Gulls and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Next I decided to scan the fields adjacent to the playing fields on the opposite side of the road were, soon after beginning to scan I noticed a large mixed flock of 70+ Carrion Crows and Jackdaws come to roost in the woodland in Long Dean Nature Reserve at 7:30pm.  1 Little Egret was also a first for my Kings Langley list and was flying in the direction of the fishing lakes in the valley from a NNW direction.  Despite the fast fading light and grey sky bringing rain a Muntjac Deer was still visible from Barnes Lane as I viewed it walk across the grass field east of Woodlands Road.  I finally made a late night visit at 8:00pm to the KL Woods to check whether the bait of peanuts that I had previously laid out for Badgers in the ditch had worked as I found a group of burrows in the SE of the woodland that might be belonging to them.
(Samuel Perfect)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Little Owls down Barnes Lane (25/8/11)

Yesterday I went down Barnes Lane via the Kings Langley school as to see if some Yellow Wagtails were present. Unfortunately on the way there, there were none to be seen. I carried on with my brother to a spot were Little owls were seen regularly. We arrived and saw nothing for a while but then suddenly a juv. Little Owl landed in a bush not to far of we got the scope on it and observed every movement it did until it flow off. We then carried on, on the road until we arrived at a field with some cows in. There was nothing to be seen in the field so headed back to the field with the little owl in. Again there was nothing to be seen but then I looked in the alley between the trees and a adult Little Owl was perched on one of the trees. This time before we could get the scope on it, it flow off. We waited for a while but then decided to leave as we were content from seeing it twice. We then were on our way back and passed the Kings Langley school field again this time we found some Yellow Wagtails. After this we scanned the gull's and left.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Birding behind the KL School again

Today I decided to go behind the Kings Langley school to have a look if some more Yellow Wagtail's had come through on there migration. Unfortunately there were no Yellow Wagtails to be seen only Pied Wagtails and Grey Wagtails it was a little bit deserted.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Birding behind the KL School

An amazing array of birds on the local patch today (as it is usually quiet with little about).  I only got out past midday but birds started flooding in only minutes after I arrived.  Most obvious were the large number of Wagtails covering the playing fields.  The majority were Pied Wagtails but amongst them there were at least 16+ Yellow Wagtails (a first for my local patch).  In addition a small congregation of Black-headed Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also at the back of the field.  2 juv. Green Woodpeckers were also searching for ants unaware of the recent arrival of an immature Sparrowhawk that made a short aborted chase for one but gave up and landed in the tree under which I was standing.  Later on in the afternoon I was thrilled to find a Lesser Whitethroat along the hedgerow in the far northern corner, it showed only briefly but the view was amazing and my second new bird of the day for my local patch.  Minutes later the entire field of Starlings, Warblers, Wagtails, Linnets, Goldfinches and even the Black-headed Gulls were put up by a totally unexpected Hobby that swooped across the playing field.
(Samuel Perfect)

Yellow Wagtails

 Photos of the Yellow Wagtails on the field behind the Kings Langley school.


Photos by Ephraim Perfect
(Ephraim Perfect)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A unexpected surprise (12/8/11)

Today while I was editing my new nature documentary my brother rushed into the study to find me. It turned out he had found a Tawny Owl in our tree in our back garden. When I got out he had the scope trained on the bird I looked through to find a Tawny Owl roosting in our garden. It was very visible so I was able to take a photo this is the only photo I got.
A Tawny Owl in our back garden tree
(Ephraim Perfect)

Kings Langley Woods (1/6/11)

Today when i toke my dog for a walk into the woods in Kings Langley i saw a few things one thing that i was happy to see was 4 Blackcaps (3 males and 1 female) later I also saw quite a few Chiffchaffs.
(Ephraim Perfect)

RSSKL (28/5/11)

On Thursday when i was at school an amazing thing happened a red kite flew down and was only about 7" from the floor it was also very close to me it was about 5-7 meters away from me it was very cool.

Barnes Lane (26/4/11)

Today I went down Barnes Lane with my dog. I had heard there were Whitethroats there so I choose to go to Barnes Lane. This is the route I took.
When I was next to the A41 on Barnes Lane I saw some thing on a hedge and raised m binoculars to see it was a Whitethroat.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Garden Birds (13/4/11)

On Friday the last day of school I came home and was told there was a Blackcap in the garden I went to look for it. At first the search seamed hopeless but then suddenly my brother saw it and pointed it out to me. While I was out there I also saw some other birds and took some photos. 
A Chaffinch
A Great tit biting the buds on a tree
A Blue tit resting on a tree
A Chaffinch
(Ephraim Perfect)

Bird Race (3/4/11)

Yesterday I went on a bird race with my brother it was from 10.40am-1.30pm. I started off in Love Lane, Kings Langley I went down Chipperfield Rd turned right onto a farm then walked into Scatterdells woods from there I went onto Barnes Lane onto common Ln then on Love Ln through Kings Langley woods down to the canal and then back to my house in Love Ln.On that trip I saw.

  • Goldfinch
  • Magpie
  • Carrien crow
  • Woodpigeon
  • Blue tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Yellowhammer  ||||
  • Coal tit
  • Great tit
  • Long-tailed tit
  • Skylark
  • Pied wagtail
  • Buzzard
  • Great-spotted woodpecker
  • Kestrel
  • Robin
  • Black-headed gull
  • Blackbird
  • Starling
  • Wren
  • Mallard duck
  • Moorhen
I was quite glad.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Kings Langley Woods (3/4/11)

In Kings Langley woods yesterday I saw a number of birds with Theo my dog.

  • Woodpigeon
  • Blue tit
  • Great tit
  • Pied wagtail
  • Dunnock
Thats about all I can remember.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Vicarage Lane (25/3/11)

Today I came home and saw a note on the floor it said "Ephraim there are Waxwing down Vicarage Lane 1am down there you will see me if you come." I rushed down to see and they had just left but i did stay and they came back. They kept on going and coming back they were very close and I managed to get some good close ups. Here is some footage I managed to get.

Here is one of the few Waxwing I saw in a berry bush.

It seems to be enjoying the berries.
This is the first I have seen them this year i saw them last year but not this year. Hopefully I get at least one more look at them because they absolutely wonderful birds.
(Ephraim Perfect)

Birds in my Garden (24/3/11)

I have been at home ill for two days today was the second day. I was looking out the window and I thought i could do some bird watching and filming. In the garden I saw:

  • 2 Robins
  • 2 Dunnoks
  • 2 Chaffinches
  • 2 Woodpigeons
  • 3 Blue Tits
  • Great Tit
  • Blackbird
  • a unknown bird thought to be a warbler.
    This is what I think may be a mating dance like with Great-Crested Grebes just not completely imitating the other mates dance.
    (Ephraim Perfect)

    Garden Birds (13/3/11)

    Today I have been outside in my garden looking at some birds i have also been photographing some of the birds I saw here are some of my favorite pictures.

    A Greenfinch  frolicking in the trees
     A daffodil shot with flash.
     A flower.
     A Coal Tit eying the bird feeder.
    (Ephraim Perfect)

    Wheatear in Hertfordshire

    recently there have been sittings of Wheatear.  I think its a bit early in the year.  Last year me and my brother found one but that was in early summer. Here are some photos.

    These two photos were taken in barns lane. Both of them are female I am hoping to see one this year again.
    (Ephraim Perfect)

    Kings Langley Woods (10/3/11)

    I have just come back from the woods in the woods I saw: a Blue Tit, a Great Tit, a Long-tailed Tit, a Coal Tit and a Chaffinch. As you can see I did not see much.  My main aim was to see a bullfinch but there was nothing in the place were they usually are.
    (Ephraim Perfect)