On the morning of Friday 13th September the 'Tyttenhanger Birders' met up for their regular Friday full circuit of the site. With its excellent variety of habitats, Tyttenhanger can produce a high day count of species at any time of year, but this visit turned out to be special with a site record 82 species recorded!
Read on for Rupert Evershed's account of their record breaking day which also serves as a good walking route guide around the site.
A single site day count of 82 species must be one of the highest recorded in Hertfordshire. We would love to hear from birders of other Herts sites with their highest day count records. Please email email@example.com
Rupert Evershed, September 2019:
Making lists and birdwatching go hand in hand and ‘The Tyttenhanger Birders’ are no exception. A fluid group of birders comprised of ‘whoever is around’ on Friday mornings was today made up of myself (Rupert Evershed), Richard Coombes, Steve Blake and Steven Pearce. Four pairs of eyes and ears as usual started scanning the moment the all-important “Tyttenhanger recording area” was entered. (The area is defined and bordered by the A414 dual carriageway, roughly to the north, Coursers Rd to the south, the A1081 to the east and Colney Heath High Street to the west).
Dismissing any nonsense associated with it being Friday 13th we fully expected to run up our usual sightings list of 65-70 different species – a great count for any site but that’s why we think Tyttenhanger is a bit special! However, today was to be unexpectedly special in that somehow we saw nearly all the usual birds and a few extras that brought us to a record day count of 82 species! Here’s how it happened:
Kestrels bred this year at the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust's reserve at Lemsford Springs. They used a nestbox erected by volunteers at Lemsford some six years ago and with Jackdaws nesting in a box just two metres above it made for some interesting observation!
Read Lemsford Springs' warden Barry Trevis' account below and watch Peter Finney's wonderful wildlife film, capturing the birds from nesting to hatching and fledging. Go to YouTube link: https://youtu.be/noQbz2QgC2U or search YouTube 'Lemsford Kestrels'.
Photo: male Kestrel at Lemsford Springs © Peter Finney
The Breeding Kestrels of Lemsford Springs – by Barry Trevis
This year we have been fortunate to have a pair of Kestrels take up occupation of one particular large nestbox that our volunteers erected some six years ago, especially designed for the species. This spring, photographer Peter Finney and myself have filmed and photographed their breeding activities. An article on this, with some images, has just been published in the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s summer edition of ‘Wildlife Matters’ magazine. Also a short film has been produced by Peter and can now be viewed on YouTube.
Kestrels, hovering over our countryside and road verges, were once
In 2017 two pairs of Peregrines bred in Hertfordshire with two fledged young from each pair. These were the first confirmed instances of Peregrines successfully breeding in the county.....
Herts ecologist and conservationist Jenny Sherwen has recently set up a Hertford Swift Group. Read about it below including details of their first Hertford Swift Walk on Tuesday 16th July:
Do you love watching screaming swifts over our town? Perhaps you’ve seen these birds but you’d like to know more about them
Join us on our first Hertford Swift walk on Tuesday 16th July
Meet at 8pm at the Stag, Parliament Square. We hope to see you there!
Swift photo © Andy Johnson
The Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits Bird Report for 2016 and 2017 is now available.
Go to Tyttenhanger 2016 & 2017 to download a copy.
Edited and produced by Ricky Flesher and Peter Christian the excellent 72 page report includes accounts for all of the 139 and 144 species recorded at Tyttenhanger in 2016 and 2017 respectively, along with photos, many interesting tables and graphs, species year lists back to 2004, and finder accounts for 2017's Iceland Gull and White-winged Black Tern.
Go to Tyttenhanger Site Guide to download reports back to 2011.