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Local bird records 2002
By Rupert Pyrah

Summarised below are my records for the 98 species I saw / heard in my local 10km x 10km OS square. Ordnance Survey square TL20 covers the area from Hatfield Aerodrome to Little Berkhamsted to Northaw to South Mimms. The area covered most intensively was Brookmans Park and/ North Mymms Park. The number of months in which each species was seen in TL20 is noted in brackets. I have also summarised (number of weeks recorded and maxima) my records from the BTO Garden Birdwatch survey for the commoner garden species.
Editorís Note: You can view pictures of the birds mentioned in Rupertís survey for 2002, along with details of the previous six years sightings, by visiting this siteís Birds Gallery.
2002 Bird Records

Species Notes
Little Grebe (6) Only recorded in TL20 between 22 March and 14 August. 7 records from Pond Wood, Potters Bar with a pair present on 11 April and a pair with 2 young on 9 July. The only other breeding record was from a secluded pond at Hatfield Aerodrome (TL200 090) where an adult was present with 2 young on 21 June. A pair was present at North Mymms war memorial on April 11, where they have bred previously, but not thereafter. Other sightings were of a single bird on the River Lea near Hatfield (TL250 098) on 15 April and 1 at Essendon golf course on 10 June.
Cormorant (11) Seen in flight over TL20 most months, with individuals occasionally roosting in trees at Gobions Pond, Brookmans Park in winter. 2 were seen there on 22 January.
Little Egret (1) 2 were seen flying over Brookmans Park by my wife on 13 April.
Grey Heron (12) Seen every month in TL20 at a variety of sites, not necessarily near water. No evidence of nesting.
Mute Swan (8) Fairly uncommon owing to lack of open water in TL20. Occasionally seen at Gobions Pond outside breeding season. However a pair nested at Essendon golf club (TL281 084) during April and 5 young were observed on 22 May, although only 4 were seen for certain on 10 June. Four adults were also present at Oakmere Park, Potters Bar on 25 October, with a pair there again on 15 December.
Canada Goose (12) 2 pairs bred at Gobions Pond (number of young unrecorded - maybe 8 to 10). Other flocks were recorded at Oakmere Park, Potters Bar (40+ on 25 October) and at Essendon golf club. Dozens regularly fly over Brookmans Park throughout the year, though fewer in winter.
Mandarin Duck (2) My only records for Herts were of 3+ on the small pond at Hatfield Aerodrome (TL200 090) on February 13 and a pair there on 19 August. I was unable to visit their regular site at The Broadwater (Hatfield House).
Gadwall (1) The only record for TL20 was of 10 on flooded fields by the River Lea at Essendon on 18 March.
Teal (9) All records for TL20 are given: - Pond Wood, Potters Bar - 3 drakes on 17 January, and a pair on 11 April. Water End - 3 drakes on 14 October. Hatfield Aerodrome (small woodland pond) - c50 on 13 February, pair on 21 June and 19 August, 14 on 4 September, c30 on 23 October, 18+ on 26 November, and c50 on 7 December.
Mallard (12) In TL20 can be encountered on any stream or pond. Counts included c55 in moult at Redwell Wood Farm (TL208 027), 48+ at Gobions Pond, Brookmans Park on 10 December, and 50+ at Oakmere Park, Potters Bar on 15 December.
Red Kite (1) 1 flew out of Cangsley Wood, North Mymms Park on 14 December.
Hen Harrier (1) A female / juvenile (probably the former) flushed from footpath near North Mymms Park (TL213030) on 2nd November.
Sparrow hawk (12) Common raptor seen every month in TL20. Recorded 17/52 weeks hunting in or over observerís garden. Pair recorded in Brookmans Park, where an adult with 2 young were seen on 2 August. Pairs also seen at North Mymms Park with 3 on 13 September; and at Hatfield Aerodrome on 26 November.
Common Buzzard (11) January was the only month when a Buzzard was not recorded in TL20. There were 23 records from North Mymms Park / Redwell Wood Farm alone, with breeding suspected in private woodland on the escarpment overlooking Coursers Fields. More than one bird was seen on several occasions - 2 on March 2, April 14, 13 August, 21 August, 2 September, and 3 November. 3 were seen on 17 June, 6 August and 4 October. 5 were seen on 11 September and a record 8 on 25 September. Elsewhere in TL20 1 was seen at West End Essendon on 5 April; 1 over Coursers Lane on 10 April; 1 over Brookmans Park on 1 May and 25 September; 1 over Pond Wood P.Bar on 12 May; and 1 over Potters Bar town centre on 28 September.
Kestrel (12) Can be encountered anywhere in TL20. North Mymms Park probably holds two pairs, with two or more birds being seen on at least 13 occasions. Three including at least one juvenile were recorded on 29 July and 13 September. Elsewhere in TL20, 2 or more birds were also seen at Essendon and Hatfield Aerodrome.
Hobby (5) There were 25 records in TL20 from May to September 2002, which is probably not appreciably less than the number of Kestrel sightings over the same period. The first date was one at Brookmans Park on 14 May and the last was at North Mymms Park on 29 September. There were 7 sightings in total from Brookmans Park - all of single birds. There were 13 sightings from North Mymms Park where a pair raised at least 3 young (Sept 16)- probably in conifers at Hawkshead Wood. Another pair was probably present nearby as 3 adults were seen in the park on 6 August. Single birds were also seen at Potters Bar (23 July), Essendon (14 August), Water End (20 Sept). At Hatfield Aerodrome one was seen on 19 August, with 3 there on 4 Sept.
Red Legged Partridge (12) Small coveys were seen regularly around Essendon, Wildhill, North Mymms Park (6 on 14 April), Brookmans Park (7 on 4 December), and Colney Heath. Hundreds, at least, are released for shooting at Tyttenhanger and Coursers Road.
Pheasant (12) Very common with numbers supplemented for shooting. Visits garden (15/52 weeks), especially January- early April.
Moorhen (12) Very common on small ponds throughout TL20. Several pairs bred at Gobions Pond, Brookmans Park. Also confirmed breeding at Essendon golf club and North Mymms Park.
Coot (12) Recorded at four sites in TL20 with breeding confirmed at two. At Gobions Pond two pairs were seen with a total of 3 young on 4 June. Winter maxima there were 5 in early 2002 with 6 in the second half of the year (10 December). Numbers have fallen from the double figure counts of 5-6 years ago. At Essendon golf club (TL281 084) a pair was seen with 5 young on 22 May and 10 June. By November only one bird was present here. A pair was also present at Pond Wood, Potters Bar in April and May. 4-5 birds were at Oakmere Park, Potters Bar from Sept-December.
Golden Plover (6) Most records are given. In TL20 records for the first half of the year include 400 over Hatfield Aerodrome on 13 February, with 7 over North Mymms Park on 13 March being the last. My first records of the Autumn were of 200 over Redwell Wood Farm (TL206 027) on 4 October. 14 flew over north Mymms Park on 16 October and 14 on 18 October. At Hatfield Aerodrome c100 were present on 13 November, building up to c1000 on 26 November and 1800+ on 7 December.
Lapwing (11) In TL20 the only sizable feeding flocks were found at Hatfield Aerodrome and Coursers Road. However Lapwing was recorded in all months except August. At least 2 pairs attempted to breed between Brookmans Park and Water End. At least one pair was successful as a well-grown chick was seen on 4 June. The final summer record from the site was of 1 adult on 2 July. My only other record of attempted breeding in TL20 was to the east of Essendon golf club where a displaying bird was seen on 15 April and 10 June. 100+ flocks included 100+ at Redwell Wood Farm on 4th and 6th October, and at Hatfield Aerodrome - 220+ on 13 November, c250 on 26 November and c400 on 7 December.
Common Snipe (2) My only records for TL20 were of 1 over Hatfield Aerodrome on 23 October and 9 feeding in a shallow pool there on 26 November.
Woodcock (3) All records given. At North Mymms Park there was 1 on 13 March, with a pair on 30 October and 16 November. A local shooter claims that they breed in Redwell Wood (TL213 O25).
Redshank (1) My only record for TL20 was of 1 over Hatfield Aerodrome on 21 June.
Black Headed Gull (9) In TL20 the commonest gull. No records from the end of March until 7 July. Garden visitor in harsh weather with up to 12 feeding on meat scraps during December.
Common Gull (8) Common in winter. No records from 23 March until an unusually early flock of c20 were observed feeding in horse pastures at the Royal Vet College in Brookmans Park on 26 August. This is a favoured site with 225 feeding there on 23 November.
Lesser Black Backed Gull (11) Recorded all months in TL20 except July. The commonest gull from April to June.
Herring Gull (8) Absent in TL20 from mid-March, with the first winter birds returning on 24 July. The Herring Gull is notably more rare than the other gulls (except Greater Black Backed).
Great Black Backed Gull (1) My only record in TL20 was of 3 over North Mymms Park on 2 January.
Common Tern (3) Recorded from 10 June to 6 August in TL20. No breeding occurs within the square, but adults are quite regular at Gobions Pond, Brookmans Park. An adult was observed feeding 3 juveniles there on 2August. A foraging adult was also seen over the small ponds at Essendon golf club on 10 June.
Stock Dove (12) Common in mixed wood / farmland in TL20. Two pairs nested in Gobions Wood, Brookmans Park. Small flocks are regularly seen around Brookmans Park including 19 on 20 April, 40 on 7 October, 25 on 22 October, and 30 on 5 November. 40+ were seen at Redwell Wood Farm on 10 February, and c130 were present on 30 March.
Wood Pigeon (12) Abundant. Common garden visitor, being recorded 44/52 weeks (absent mainly Oct-Nov), though never more than 5 individuals have fed simultaneously. 100+ flocks included c1500 at Essendon on 9 January, 150+ at Brookmans Park on 5 November, and 160 at North Mymms Park on 14 December. However 100+ have been seen on many other occasions.
Collared Dove (12) Very common though not often seen away from villages and farms. One of the commonest garden visitors, being recorded all 52 weeks. The maximum count was of 23 w/c 17 November.
Cuckoo (3) Uncommon - all TL20 records are given. A calling male was at North Mymms Park on six occasions from 22 April to 3 June inclusive. One was present at Essendon on 24 April and 22 May. One was heard at Northaw Great Wood on 30 May.
Little Owl (8) Recorded every month in TL20 except January, February, June and December. Six sites in the square are known to the observer: - 1) East of Essendon (TL283 083) - 3 records including 2 birds on 5 March. 2) North Mymms Park - 9 records including 2 calling birds on 16th and 25th September. 3) Redwell Wood Farm - 4 records. 4) Brookmans Park (TL238 038) - 8 records including 2 birds on 7th and 28th October. 5) Woodside (TL247 071) - 1 record on 18 July. 6) Potters Bar golf club (10th tee) - 4 records.
Tawny Owl (5) In TL20 records fell into two periods - March to May and Nov to December. Most of the records were from Brookmans Park, with 1 at North Mymms Park on 3 May and 14 December.
Long Eared Owl (1) A roosting bird was at North Mymms Park on 13th, 17th and 24th March.
Common Swift (4) Swifts arrived late this year in TL20, with no records until 14 May (6 over Brookmans Park). The last date was 1 over Brookmans Park on 11 August. Only two sizable parties were noted - 50+ over North Mymms Park on 20 May and 70+ over Redwell Wood Farm on 1 July.
Kingfisher (11) Recorded every month in TL20 except July. Probably bred at Water End, with individuals frequently seen there - two were noted on 1 January, 1 May and 31 October. During the breeding season two birds (possibly an adult and a juvenile) were also seen at Gobions Pond on 22 May. Outside the breeding season, individuals were recorded on several small streams and ponds nearby. The other regular site in TL20 is on the river Lea, east of Hatfield.
Green Woodpecker (12) Common in TL20 where there is unimproved grassland. A pair with 2 young was noted at North Mymms Park on 16 September. 3 adults were seen at Essendon on 24 April and 22 May.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (12) Common in local woodland, and an occasional garden visitor. Up to 3 birds were seen regularly in North Mymms Park throughout the year, and at least 5 were present in Fir & Pond Woods (Potters Bar) on 30 May. An adult visiting a nest hole was observed in Gobions Wood on 23 May.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (3) For the first time there were no records from Brookmans Park. Total records for TL20 were down from six last year to three. Single birds were at North Mymms Park on 18 April and 11 September, and at Northaw Great Wood on 30 May.
Skylark (12) In TL20 in 2002, I had only one record in double figures (10+ at Coursers Road fields on 17 February). Winter feeding flocks were few and far between and seemed to consist of just a handful of birds, e.g. 7 counted at Hatfield Aerodrome on 26 November and 6 in set-aside at Brookmans Park on 16 November. Small numbers still breed locally. There were 5 singing birds between Brookmans Park and Water End on 4 June, 4 singing birds at Essendon on 10 June, and 2+ singing birds between North Mymms Park and the A1. No counts were made of summer numbers at Hatfield Aerodrome / Beech Farm.
Sand Martin (2) Only one breeding site in TL20 was known in 2001 - the quarry at Howe Green (TL284 089). In 2002 6 birds were seen here on 5 April, and 3 on 24 April, but then not again until a single on 16 August. I suspect that breeding attempts were abandoned at the site owing to heavy disturbance.
Swallow (7) Numbers seemed lower than usual in 2002. The only sizable party noted was c400 counted over a period of approx ĺ hour migrating through Redwell Wood Farm on 18 September. The first record in TL20 was of 2 at Brookmans Park on 12 April.
House Martin (6) House Martins were not recorded in TL20 until 1st May, with the last record being 25+ through North Mymms Park on 11 October. Numbers seemed very low this year - more so than for any of the other commoner summer visitors. No more than 5 were recorded above the observerís garden at any time prior to the autumn passage. Several regular nesting sites were not used in 2002. Numbers on autumn passage also seemed much reduced with only 3 parties of 50 or more individuals in September.
Tree Pipit (3) One singing bird was recorded in North Mymms Park on six occasions from 22 April to 25 June. No records from elsewhere.
Meadow Pipit (10) Recorded in all months except July and August. The only breeding season record was of 1 at Hatfield Aerodrome on 21 June. Otherwise the first and last dates of passage through TL20 were of 5 over Brookmans Park on 1 May and then 1 over North Mymms Park on 16 September. Small parties were present through the winter, with double figure counts including 12 at Brookmans Park on 15 February with 21 there on 1 March; 25+ at Coursers Road on 17 February; 14 over Essendon on 17 September; 25+ at Redwell Wood Farm on 4 October; and 11+ at North Mymms Park on 3 November.
Yellow Wagtail (4) All Herts records are given. At Coursers Road 1 was seen on 10 April, 3 were seen on 3 May, and a pair was observed taking food to a nest in crops on 12 July. Singles were seen among horses at the Royal Veterinary College, Brookmans Park on 20 April and 26 August.
Grey Wagtail (10) Over 20 records in TL20, and sightings for all months except January and May. Regular sightings were at Water End where a pair was observed feeding a juvenile on 4 June, and at Potters Bar golf club. Outside the breeding season single birds were seen at several locations (not necessarily by water) around Brookmans Park, North Mymms Park, Potters Bar, Essendon and Northaw.
Pied Wagtail (12) Common in local villages, especially where livestock are present. Garden visitor in hard weather (recorded only 3/52 weeks in observerís garden).
Wren (12) Abundant, and regular in observerís garden where it was recorded 49/52 weeks. A pair with at least 2 young was present on 28 May.
Dunnock (12) Very common. Present all 52 weeks in observerís garden, though no more than 3 individuals were present at any one time.
Robin (12) Abundant, especially in winter. Recorded all 52 weeks in garden, with a maximum of 3 at any one time.
Redstart (1) All records are given. A female/ immature was present in North Mymms Park on 11 September and again on the 13th. A male was at Redwell Wood Farm - also on 13 September.
Whinchat (2) All records are given. In TL20 a male was in rough vegetation adjacent to the railway line at Brookmans Park on 20 April. A pair was at Hatfield Aerodrome on 19 August.
Stonechat (3) All records are given. In TL20 all the records were from autumn. Single birds were at North Mymms Park on 11 September and 24 October; and at Redwell Wood Farm on 4 October. There was a pair at Hatfield Aerodrome on 23 October and 26 November.
Blackbird (12) Abundant, especially in winter. Recorded in garden all 52 weeks, with a maximum count of 21 in w/c 6 January.
Fieldfare (7) In TL20 the last and first dates were 27 March and 22 October - both at Brookmans Park. Flocks of 50+ birds were seen at North Mymms Park (120+ with Starlings on 31 January, 100+ on 2 November, c50 on 16 November, c120 on 22 November, 60+ on 5 December, c60 on 14 December and c120 on 22 December); Essendon (100= on 6 February, 70+ on 25 December); Brookmans Park (75+ on 23 November, 50 on 27 November); and c70 at Cuffley on 30 December. A further 10 flocks of 20-50 birds were noted.
Song Thrush (12) Quite common in TL20, with numbers increasing from late September. Irregular garden visitor, recorded 11/52 weeks, mainly March - April. Proven breeding in North Mymms Park where adult feeding juvenile was observed.
Redwing (6) In TL20 the last recorded date was 17 March at North Mymms Park. Flocks of 50+ birds were seen at North Mymms Park (200+ over on 16 October, 100+ on 30 October, 100+ on 2 November); Brookmans Park (c60 on 29 October); and Cuffley (100+ on 30 December). A further 13 flocks of 20-50 birds were noted, although this is an under-estimate. Redwing is an occasional garden visitor - 4/52 weeks), feeding on hips and haws, and in harsh weather, windfall apples.
Mistle Thrush (12) The only instances of 10 or more were at North Mymms Park, with 10 on 25 June and 1st July, and 18 on 2nd September.
Sedge Warbler (1) A passage bird at North Mymms Park on 9 September was my first record for TL20.
Lesser Whitethroat (4) Numbers seemed much reduced in 2002. All records for TL20 are given. Single birds were at Brookmans Park (10 May, 4 June, 26 August and 10 September); South Mymms (26 May); and at Dame Alice Owenís School Potters Bar (29 June).
Common Whitethroat (6) First and last dates in TL20 were 22 April (2 in North Mymms Park) and 20 September (a juvenile at Brookmans Park). Maximum counts at sites for BTO Migration watch were: - North Mymms Park - 10 on 3 May and 7 on 7 May, with maximum counts for June of 5 on the 3rd and 25th. A family party was observed on August 23rd. Colney Heath - 4 on April 23. Essendon - max counts of 6 on April 24 and May 22. Brookmans Park - max of 4 on May 10. Pond Wood, Potters Bar - max of 3 on 30 May.
Garden Warbler (5) All records in TL20 were April -August, with an arrival date of 22 April (1 at North Mymms Park) and a final date of 6 August (2 at North Mymms Park). Exceptional numbers were present in North Mymms Park this year with 7 (6 singing) recorded on May 3, with up to 4 singing birds regular until mid June. Singing birds were also encountered at Brookmans Park, around Essendon (max of 3 on May 25), Northaw Great Wood and Hatfield Aerodrome.
Blackcap (6) All records were from April to September with no winter sightings in 2002. The first date was of 1 at Brookmans Park on 1st April and the final record was of 1 at North Mymms Park on 29 September. BTO Migration Watch counts were very healthy with maximum counts (not all singing males though) by site as follows: - Brookmans Park - 12 on 10 May. Essendon / Little Berkhamsted - 12 on April 24 and 11 on May 22. Fir & Pond Wood - 8 on 12 May and 7 on 30 May. North Mymms Park - 11 on 3 May and 8 on 3 June.
Chiffchaff (8) The first record was of 1 at North Mymms Park on 17 March, and the final passage record in TL20 was of 1 at the same site on 24 October. Maximum counts by site were: - Brookmans Park - 6 on 20 April. Essendon/ Little Berkhamsted - 6 on 24 April. Fir & Pond Wood - 6 on 11 April. North Mymms Park - 7 on 22 April and 3 May. Passage numbers seemed relatively high this year, particularly from September 20-29. 2 wre recorded in the observerís garden on Sept 13.
Willow Warbler (6) First date was of 4+ at Colney Heath on April 4, with a final date of 16 September (North Mymms Park). The speciesí stronghold in TL20 was North Mymms Park where at least 10 singing birds were counted on May 3. The great majority of these were in birch scrub associated with the conifers of Hawkshead Wood. Two family parties were seen here on August 13, while there was a notable passage of at least 20 individuals through on 21 August. Singing birds were also encountered At Colney Heath (at least 4), Brookmans Park (2), Essendon (2 - again in scrub/ conifers), Pond Wood (1), and 2 along the River Lea between Hatfield and Letty Green. Passage birds were present in the observerís garden on 19 August and 2 September.
Goldcrest (12) Very common in TL20, especially in autumn. Frequent garden visitor except for the May to mid June period, being recorded 36/52 weeks.
Spotted Flycatcher (3) All Herts records are given. A very poor year for the species. First record was of 1 at Woodside (TL255 073) on 18 July, with a pair feeding 2 young there on 16 August. An adult was feeding a juvenile at St. Maryís Church, North Mymms on 21 August (donít know how I missed it before then!). A passage bird was present at Redwell Wood (TL210 030) on 16 September.
Long Tailed Tit (12) Very common in TL20. Regular visitor to garden (recorded 30/52 weeks), especially during July when mixed tit family parties turned up on many days. Maximum was c25 in w/c 21 July.
Marsh Tit (12) Common in TL20 with almost 50 records in 2002. Pairs were present at many sites including Gobions Wood/Pond, Fir & Pond Woods, Culver Wood (Little Berkhamsted), Sandpit Grove (Essendon), North Mymms Park, on the River Lea east of Hatfield, Brickkiln Wood (Brookmans Park), Home Covert (Hatfield Aerodrome) and especially in Northaw Great Wood where a pair was seen feeding 4 young on 30 May.
Coal Tit (12) Common, especially where there are conifers. Regular garden visitor in 1s and 2s, being recorded 42/52 weeks.
Blue Tit (12) Abundant. Recorded in garden all 52 weeks, with a maximum of c35 w/c 21 July and 5 August.
Great Tit (12) Very common. Recorded in garden 51/52 weeks with a maximum of 5 w/c 4 August and 15 September.
Nuthatch (12) Common in broad-leaved woodland. Occasional garden visitor (7/52 weeks) from mid July to Early September. A family party of 5+ was seen in North Mymms Park on 3 June, and c7 were seen at Pond Wood, Potters Bar on 5 June.
Tree Creeper (12) Common in all types of mature woodland. The maximum count for North Mymms Park was 3 on 14 June.
Jay (12) Common in all woodland types in TL20. Occasional garden visitor, being recorded 14/52 weeks - mainly June-July and Nov-December.
Magpie (12) Very common, especially around fields with horses. Recorded in garden all 52 weeks, with a maximum of 6 birds w/c 26 May. The largest flocks noted were of 19 and 18 on 5 November and 29 December respectively, at the Royal Vet College, Brookmans Park. This is almost certainly an under-estimate.
Jackdaw (12) Very common in TL20, and an occasional garden visitor (17/52 weeks) - mainly mid May to mid July. Small flocks are regularly encountered, e.g. at St Maryís Church, North Mymms where 30+ are regularly present. Flocks of 50+ included 85+ near Little Berkhamsted on 9 January, and at the same site c200 with other corvids on 6 February and c120 on 25 December. 100+ were at Redwell Wood Farm on 24 May.
Rook (11) Uncommon in TL20 with no rookeries known in the square. Recorded in all months except August- mainly in very small numbers. Most regularly encountered to the west of South Mymms. The only records of 10+ rooks in the square were c10 with corvids at Little Berkhamsted on 6 February, c20 at Redwell Wood Farm on 30 March and c10 there on 24 May, and c30 at South Mymms on 15 October.
Carrion Crow (12) Very common in TL20 and a regular garden visitor (32/52 weeks). A pair brought 3 juveniles to feed on meat scraps on 23 June. 100+ flocks were noted at Little Berkhamsted in February and March. Approx 90 were counted with Jackdaws at Tyttenhanger Farm on March 24th and 26th. At least 400 were in the Beech Farm / Hatfield Aerodrome location on 26 November.
Starling (12) Very common, particularly where there is livestock. Common visitor to garden (all 52 weeks), though this was not always the case. For the last year we have provided meat scraps and fat on a daily basis and we are now recording weekly maxima of around 50 individuals (w/c 24 November and 8 December) compared with no more than 5 or 6 in the past. Notable flocks have included c100 and 76 in garden poplars in Brookmans Park on 20 November and 3 December respectively. 150 were with Fieldfares at North Mymms Park on 31 January. 135 were at the Royal Vet College on 23 May.
House Sparrow (12) Recorded all 52 weeks in observerís garden with a maximum of 11 in w/c 15 Sept and w/c 15 December. Prior to the winter of 2001/2, House Sparrows were uncommon garden visitors and never more than 2 at a time. The provision of special feeder seed has encouraged the establishment of a small colony. At least 3 young came to the feeders w/c 28 May. There still seem to be small colonies scattered around the local villages, but I have noticed that they appear to be absent from most local town centres (e.g. Potters Bar).
Tree Sparrow (4) All records are given. At Coursers Road there were 12+ on 17 February, c20 on 10 April, 8 on 3 May and c15 on 12 July. 1 flew over Redwell Wood Farm on 22 April.
Chaffinch (12) Very common, especially in winter. Garden visitor all 52 weeks, with a maximum count of 31 in w/c 10 March. 33 were at Water End on 5 November - although there were undoubtedly larger flocks over the course of 2002.
Greenfinch (12) Very common garden visitor recorded all 52 weeks, with a maximum count of 25 in w/c 17 February. No sizable flocks were noted on arable land.
Goldfinch (12) Common in TL20. Occasional garden visitor (8/52 weeks) - mainly January-mid April. 10+ flock sizes included: - Essendon - 15+ on 6 February, and 12 on 25 December. North Mymms park - c60 on 17 March, and 20+ on 10 July. R.Vet College (Brookmans Park) - 10 on 2 August, 27 on 26 August, 15 on 20 September, and 12 on 6 October.
Siskin (8) Recorded every month in TL20 except June-September. Final winter date was of 1 over North Mymms Park on 3 May, and the first autumn date was of 1 at the same location on 11 October. Regular visitor to sunflower seeders from 10 February to 31 march with a maximum of 13 birds on 21 March. Large flocks are closely associated with alders. Double figure flocks by site included:- Gobions Pond, Brookmans Park - 45+ on 10 January, 15 on 1st March, c35 on 1st November, 25 on 23 November and 30+ on 3 December. Colney Heath - 60+ on 28 January. North Mymms Park - 11 on 16 October, and 9+ on 22 November.
Linnet (11) Quite common in TL20 from April to November, but largely absent in winter - I had no records in February. Flocks of 20+ were at: - Essendon - c60 on 16 September. Redwell Wood Farm - 30+ on 6 August, 20 on 16 September and 4 October, and 19 on 18 October. R.Vet College (Brookmans Park) on set-aside - c50 on 26 Sept, 28 on 6 Oct, 80+ on 22 Oct, 30+ on 31 Oct, c30 on 23 Nov, c20 on 27 Nov, and c40 on 4 December.
Lesser Redpoll (8) Recorded in TL20 in all months except June-Sept. Final spring date was of 2 at North Mymms Park on 7 May, while the first autumn record came from the same location on 4 October. Over-flying birds were recorded in a number of locations (especially where there are birches nearby). 5+ flocks were found at: - North Mymms Park - c50 (including a few paler individuals) on 18 January, 9 on 31 January 45 on 14 April, 36 on 22 April, c35 on 2nd November, and 7 on 16 November. Water End - c12 on 31 October.
Common Crossbill (1) My only record for Herts in 2002 was of 6+ over Hawkshead Wood, North Mymms Park on 19 July.
Bullfinch (12) Quite common locally, wherever there are tall hedges and thick scrub. Rare garden visitor. Selected records by site (I havenít always noted Bullfinches): - Bullens Green - 4 on 16 January. North Mymms Park - 8+ on 2nd and 16th November, 6+ on 14 December, 5 on 22 November, and 4 on January 31 and 13 March. Essendon - 3 on 6 February and 11 November. Woodside - adult with juvenile 16 August (TL258 073) Brookmans Park - 2-4 regular around Gobions Open Space and the Royal Vet College. Water End - pair on 14 October.
Hawfinch (1) A pair was seen at North Mymms Park on 1st July. Never seen before at this site.
Yellowhammer (12) Numbers have fallen heavily in TL20 over the last five years. Only seven parties of 5 or more birds were seen outside the breeding season. Redwell Wood Farm - 30+ on 2nd January. Essendon - 9 on 9 January. North Mymms Park - 8 on 13 January. Water End - 7 on 21 January. Brookmans Park - c10 on 31 October, 8 on 23 November, and 7 on 4 December. Singing birds were recorded west of Brookmans Park (4), Essendon (3), Redwell Wood Farm (1), and between North Mymms Park and the A1 (3).
Reed Bunting (3) All records are given for TL20. 1 at Hatfield Aerodrome on 13 February, and 2 on 13 November; 1 at the Coursers Road Tree Sparrow feeding station on 17 February; and a single bird was present in a maize field at Little Berkhamsted on 25 December.


The survey above was carried out by local ornithologist Rupert Pyrah who kindly allows this site to publish his findings each year so that the record of birds seen locally can be kept up to date.

Images of birds seen locally during the annual surveys
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