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Tuesday, February 02nd, 2010 | Author:

so I ventured out onto the reserve for the first time in a month or so.
I found it still buzzing with activity.


Siskin take niger seeds, let’s hope the goldfinches don’t object.
No luck catching them in a natural setting this time,
still, got them last year so can’t complain. . .see blog for 17.01.2009.

Siskin like sunflower hearts too, -it pays to be versatile.

a little run of little grebe pictures:

Not the clearest image, but how many times have you seen a little grebe
OUT of the water? Me? Never.

a blackbird, waiting for me to leave the feeder area.

Wherever you are on the site, someone is watching you.

The Mere’s secretive resident pheasant, also watching warily.

Snowdrops never cease to amaze do they?
The snow clears and there they are!

The last of this winter’s redwing flock, it felt as if I had scared them all away,
but they were probably on their way North again soon anyway . . .

Most of the red in redwing name stems from the red on the bird’s body.
This redwing shows more of it’s plumage, just for the camera.

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Friday, October 09th, 2009 | Author:

a sunny but cold day, the light barely falling on half the reserve by midday.

this male mallard had me looking twice: he’s become entwined with a postman’s elastic band.
As far as I could see, he was still feeding ok and untroubled by his new headgear.
Hopefully, it will wear away safely in a few days.

white bryony is the creeper, I think. It’s durable and still going strong.
We are nearly in mid October and the plant is still flowering and attracting bees.

a dunnock attempts to sneak past me, serving to illustrate the furtive nature of these birds.

still present are young moorhen.
They have bred well this year and are still pestering the parent birds for food.

another young moorhen catches the warming sun on the bridge.

still the star of the show, a male kingfisher.
Anyone seen a female recently?

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Thursday, August 06th, 2009 | Author:

a few snippets from today

the adult little grebes seem to be feeding only some of their young.
Those that can dive and feed are chased away, much like a coot would do.

There’s regular fish for those still in favour

a fleeting attack over the Mere from the sparrowhawk.
I was watching the grebes, when everything on the water scuttled away in a panic.
Then along came the predator. He failed to catch anything this time.
Record shot.

a distant view of a red kite. Others have been seen near Verulamium Park,
Gorhambury residents we believe. Record shot.

here, I have broken my own rule for photos. on the Mere.
I only post what I capture on site, but to do justice to red kites
have included a ‘real’ image taken by myself in Wales,
just to show what is circling above our heads!
Always look up when you are meandering about, don’t tread on anything nasty. . . .

two shots of a gatekeeper butterfly

what I first took to be a muntjac in the Pyghtle area.
My reference book informs me it is a female roe deer, which does not have antlers.
Both sexes of muntjac are horned to a greater or lesser extent.

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Friday, July 31st, 2009 | Author:


just popped in as I was passing.
To my surprise spotted two adult little grebes, plus their 5 chicks.
(my best estimate)
There have been adults here for the last two winters, first a solitary grebe, last winter two grebes, now chicks.

Also present, 2 mute swan, plus 6 cygnets.

a chiffchaff, fleetingly captured amongst the leaves, hence the green hue to the picture.

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Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | Author:

Here are David’s sightings for June.

‘I have recorded how many times I’ve seen each species. So in e.g. 6/6 means I saw a particular species six times in each of my six visits. In brackets I put down the maximum number of a species I saw together at once’.

Little grebe 4/4 (2)
Grey heron 2/4 (2)
Mallard 3/4
Moorhen 3/4 (2)
Coot 4/4 (9)
Stock dove 1/4 (1)
Woodpigeon 4/4 (4)
Collared dove 4/4 (2)
Swift 3/4 (6)
Kingfisher 1/4 (1)
Great spotted Woodpecker 4/4 (2)
Wren 3/4 (1)
Dunnock 1/4 (1)
Robin 3/4 (2)
Song thrush 3/4 (1)
Blackbird 4/4(3)
Chiffchaff 4/4 (1)
Great tit 4/4 (2)
Blue tit 4/4(3)
Magpie 3/4 (12)
Jay 1/4/(1)
Jackdaw 4/4 (13)
Starling 4/4 (16)
House sparrow 4/4 (5)
Chaffinch 4/4 (3)
Goldfinch 3/4 (2)
Greenfinch 3/4 (5)
Bullfinch 3/4 (2)
Month total species

He saw a female Tufted Duck on the mere on Saturday 18th July morning (about 8 am). Though not a rarity, he had not seen one down here before

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Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Author:

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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Author:


The sightings board is revealing lots of Spring activity




Lots of bluebells and whitebells (ok, I made it up) in the shady place

moorhen chicks – (actually you don’t seem to pronounce it correctly – I pronounce it ‘myrrhhen)’ . The mother was discretely furtive with them, generally managing just to obscure them from my view (hence bad photo) 



Thursday, February 12th, 2009 | Author:

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Wednesday, January 07th, 2009 | Author:

Here is Sheila’s list:
water rail, kingfisher, teals (2 male), shovelers (m + f), little grebes (2), coot, moorhen, mallard, heron, black-headed gull, bullfinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, chaffinch, jay, wren, siskin, goldcrest, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, magpie, robin, blackbird, song thrush, pigeons, collared dove, dunnock, house sparrow, cormorants (flying over), starling and redwing.

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