Northern Wheatear

I saw my first wheatear on the grass retaining bank near the car-park at Wilstone Reservoir near Tring.  It was a bracing spring day – clear skies, bright sunshine and a nipping wind that stung the cheeks as I searched the hedgerow for a singing chiff-chaff that had caught my…

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Meet the youngster

Over the last year or so, we have built a rather special relationship with a robin in our garden. The story is worthy of a longer post, but as a bit of a taster, here’s an image of the last fledgling from the multiple broods raised by ‘our’ robin this spring…

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Bitterns in flight

Lakenheath Reserve is one of our favourite places and on a visit back in June it was again the venue for a wonderful wildlife encounter. Leaving the car-park shortly before dawn, we made our way out at a steady pace through reed-beds alive to the sound of sedge and reed…

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Nightsounds – a wasp nest in the shed

This spring an overwintering queen wasp vespula vulgaris emerged from hibernation and chose our shed as the site to create her colony. Colonies are usually formed below ground, as was the case in 2015, when I made this recording by the entrance hole under one of our flowerbeds. After initially…

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….. worth two in the bush

The chance to join a bird ringing session was an opportunity not to be missed, so when friend and fellow WSRS member Bill Parker mentioned he would be ringing later that week, in a conversation during our recent sound recording trip to Somerset, I was quick to ask if I…

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The first croak is the sweetest

I think I was eleven or twelve, back when summer days lasted forever and the future was full of promise and sunshine, that with the help of my dad I taught myself to water-ski. We holidayed in Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula in a little cottage in the heart of the village.…

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In the company of foxes

A walk up the lane turned into a special moment last Friday evening when we encountered four young fox cubs playing at the edge of woodland in the early evening sun whilst their parents were away hunting. They chased in the grass and bounded through the developing crop, oblivious or…

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The morning preen

Black headed Gulls (1st winter and adult) preen in the morning sun

On wasteland near my office a large expanse of concrete pools rain-water into a large ‘luddle’ (somewhere between a lake and a puddle) and when not in use as a car park, Herring and Black-headed Gulls congregate in the centre. My car provided a rather effective hide as I watched these two black-headed gulls preen in the low winter light. Both the adult and juvenile have black tips to their bill but the younger bird has buff-orange legs and upper bill, compared to the adult’s deeper red.