This page shows my month by month sightings for the current year, 2018. The most recent sightings are at the top of the page. For last year's sightings see the 2017 web page.

 

 

To find out what birds have been seen recently in the county of Hertfordshire, visit the Herts Bird Club website. What follows relates to my own "local patch" wildlife sightings for the current year, 2018.

 See my photos and hear my stories on the Royston Wildlife Blog! The blog went live in January 2015 and offers a more detailed account of my wildlife sightings, both on my "local patch" (separate post for each month) and in the rest of the UK (again a separate post for each month). I update roughly fortnightly and delete posts after 15-18 months. Admire or ridicule my photos, help me to identify species or simply enjoy the read! The blog can be found at: roystonwildlife.blogspot.co.uk.

The page below gives a brief account of the wildlife that I saw locally in 2018, with most recent sightings at the top of the page.

February 2018

In over 30 years of living in Royston I had never visited the Royston sewage works, which are situated just over the county boundary in Cambridgeshire but are less than two miles from my home, despite the works having had the reputation in the last century as an excellent stopping off place (the only one in the local area) for a variety of migrating wading birds. However, news of some interesting bird sightings there in late January encouraged me to pay a brief visit on the morning of the 3rd. Approaching along a footpath (marked on 1:25000 maps) from the Bassingbourn end and looking through the perimeter fencing from the west side I was able to identify at least one grey wagtail and several meadow pipits and pied wagtails, but, armed with only my binoculars, I was unable to identify many of the other small brown birds that were picking off the insects that are normally associated with these plants - I must bring my telescope next time! Since I had not seen a meadow pipit in Hertfordshire at the time I had achieved a new 'first' of a bird appearing on my 'local patch' year list that was not on my Hertfordshire year list! It was encouraging to see three greenfinches on one of my sunflower heart feeders on the 2nd - this species is still in short supply in the Royston area. A treecreeper was seen in the Jubilee Wood / Fox Covert complex on the 5th. A long walk on the 8th was rewarded with sightings of spectacular numbers of finches, including a single flock of at least 350 linnets at Greys Farm and around 160 chaffinches feeding on spilt grain at Hatchpen grain store. I also saw my first local lesser black-backed gulls of the year at Newsells stud farm, some of which were in the same field as a young grey heron. Aconites and snowdrops in Therfield were a welcome sign of approaching spring.

January 2018

 The New Year brought little change in the weather (cold, wet or windy or a combination of two or more of these) or wildlife. Bird migration is virtually non-existent at this time of year, so it was no surprise to see a continuation of a rather familiar species list as I walked round my local patch on the 5th and the 22nd, although the hordes of reed buntings seen just before Christmas in and around the villages had moved on or hidden themselves away. The local raptors (sparrowhawk, kestrel, buzzard and red kite) were very active, but there was still no sign of any harriers or wintering owls. A female brambling was a surprise visitor to my garden on the 12th, although it didn't stay around long enough for me to photograph it. Encouraged by this I walked across The Heath on the same day and found at least eight more bramblings in a mixed flock with chaffinches in the Fox Covert / Jubilee Wood area. Also encountered then were three corn buntings, an over-flying flock of 67 lapwings near Royston Hospital and a flock of 175+ fieldfares at Greys Farm. Five corn buntings were found at Hatchpen Farm on the 22nd and these birds or another flock of five were seen a couple of hours later at the side of the Icknield Way (Therfield). A large covey of at least 25 grey partridges was seen nearby at Park Farm. Highlights of my 'Big Garden Birdwatch' on the 27th (eight species seen) were five each of jackdaw (feeding on suet balls), blackbird, woodpigeon and goldfinch.