Work to reintroduce the impressive Southern Wood Ant (Formica rufa) to Hertfordshire has resumed this spring at Bishop's Wood near Rickmansworth.
Until the reintroduction programme started in 2019, the species had not been recorded in the county since the 1950s. Nests have been relocated from Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire (where the species is plentiful) through a partnership between Three Rivers Council, Hertfordshire County Council's Countryside Management Service and Phil Attewell, county ant recorder and last year's winner of the HNHS 1875 Award for an outstanding Hertfordshire naturalist.
An entire night huddled in the garden listening for over-flying ducks, leaning from a bedroom window to hear Whimbrel and an extravagant cry of 'YES!' on sighting a Starling were among the more eccentric moments of 'lockdown birding' recalled at the 2021 Herts Bird Conference on Saturday 20 March.
Yet despite outdoor movement restrictions in response to the Covid pandemic, the number of species seen in Hertfordshire in 2020 is expected to equal the 198 recorded the previous year and may – once rarity verfication is complete – pass the 200 mark.
The conference, jointly organised by the Herts Bird Club and British Trust for Ornithology – drew an online audience of over a hundred who heard how the lockdown had stimulated bird watching and recording, even though travel was largely banned. No fewer than 23,000 records were submitted – an increase of 6,000 on the previous highest total.
The National Forum for Biological Recording's online conference on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 May focuses on urban wildlife recording – from birds to 'under-appreciated' groups like slugs
https://www.field-studies-council.org/shop/courses/national-forum-for-biological-recording-2021-conference/. It costs just £5 to sign up for the full programme.
We are delighted to announce that the annual Herts Bird Club / British Trust for Ornithology will go ahead this year – as an online event on the morning of Saturday March 20.
The programme, which runs from 10.30am to 12.40pm, combines speaker presentations with popular perennials such as Graham Knight's 'What did you miss?' review of county birding highlights for 2020 and the bird photograph of the year.