In spite of (and perhaps because of) the poor weather, The Autumn Herts 24-hr Garden Vismig Race on Sat 3rd October, proved a big success. Visible migration was observed from a number of Herts gardens throughout the day and highlights included a Merlin from a garden in Walkern , Golden Plovers over gardens in St Albans and Walkern, 17 Snipe and a Brambling over a garden in St Albans. Other migrants included Swallows, House Martins, Redwing, Fieldfare, Meadow Pipits, Siskins and Redpolls as well as notable movements of more common birds such as Chaffinches, Skylarks and Lapwing.
In the end three observers recorded the same highest count of 42 species from their gardens – Rupert Evershed in St Albans, Stuart Cossey in Walkern and Chris Ruis in St Albans. However, there can be only one mug winner and a decision was made to award the mug to the observer who recorded the rarest bird. The overall winner and proud recipient of The Mug is therefore Stuart Cossey who observed a Merlin from his Walkern garden. Congratulations Stuart!
A big thank you also to everyone who participated. Autumn visible migration is by no means over and
12 days to go in the Great Herts Autumn Garden Vismig Watch and the species count stands at 90 with the number of birds counted approaching an impressive 30,000.
Highlights over the past seven days include three Great White Egrets over a Garston garden and a Yellow-browed Warbler in a St Albans garden. Also in the past week: a marked increase in winter thrushes with 1,992 Redwing and 115 Fieldfare recorded, Woodpigeon are migrating with 523 counted, and a good numbers of finches including 318 Chaffinch, 32 Siskin, 23 Lesser Redpoll and 5 Crossbill.
It's not too late to take part! All counts are welcome on as many days as you can including your regular garden species, occasional visitors, as well as those migrating overhead. Please enter your counts on this simple GoogleSheet or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 has seen not one, nor two but three pairs of Peregrine breed in Hertfordshire, the highest number to date since the first confirmed pairs in 2017. In total, nine young successfully fledged in 2020: two from a pair at Watford, four from a pair in the north of the county near Hitchin, and for the first time three from a pair at Welwyn Garden City.
And, not only was it the first time a pair have successfully bred at Welwyn Garden City, but, all three of the young were colour ringed; a first for this species in Herts.
Read Barry Trevis and Colin Shawyer's account of this fantastic success below:
Autumn is upon us and while many of us still remain home-based there’s never been a better time to check out what birds might be migrating over or through our gardens.
So during the months of September and October the Herts Bird Club will be asking you to record migration from your garden with the emphasis on visible migration or ‘vismig’. This means recording counts of any species seen or heard in or from your house/garden during the day or night, including flyovers or birds seen/heard in neighbouring gardens or streets.
On 1 August 2020 Mike Ilett observed that one of eight Red Kites present at Deadman's Hill nr Sandon had a wing tag on both wings. The tags were yellow and the code on both was V3.
This bird (hatched 2018) was ringed on 19 November 2019 near Shaftesbury, north Dorset, 182km from Deadman's Hill.
The ringer notes that re-sighting reports of tagged Red Kites are low so please give those Red Kites you see an extra look; re-sightings of tagged or ringed birds are of great value to ringers to increase their knowledge of the movements of the birds.
If you do see one, or any other colour tagged/ringed species, the project and details of where to send the sighting can usually be found on this excellent website: