This page is dedicated to wildlife sightings in the Royston area for this year, 2019. The most recent sightings are at the top, working backwards in time as you move further down the page - enjoy!


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). 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.

February 2019 

February started with snow on the ground on the 1st, but by the final week record high February temperatures were being recorded for Scotland and Wales, whilst in Royston daytime temperatures reached 17C in glorious, unbroken sunshine! Nevertheless, February was a quiet month for wildlife in the Royston area. Birds were largely static, with the exception of a small movement of meadow pipits back onto The Heath and the loss of most of the redwings as the temperature continued to rise in the second half of the month. Fieldfares took the form of a single flock, 150 to 200 strong, that I regularly encountered along the Icknield Way between Therfield Heath and Therfield village. Lapwings, which had been prominent on Greys Farm in January, appeared to move east to Hatchpen Farm, where at least 50 were seen on the 18th. The four regular birds of prey (kestrel, sparrowhawk, buzzard and red kite) were all much in evidence but there were no sightings of January's hen harrier or of any owls. A flock of at least 250 skylarks was seen at Park Farm on the 1st, but by the 22nd individual skylarks were singing all around the Royston area. Joining the 'song fest' were great tits, song thrushes and mistle thrushes, whilst even chaffinches were tuning up in ridiculously warm weather. A nuthatch was a surprise visitor to my garden feeders on the 13th. Coveys of grey partridges were breaking up to form pairs and smaller groups and the males were calling from several places as I walked along the Icknield Way on the early evening of the 21st. A very early bat flew past me near Wicker Hall at dusk on the 21st and I noted a pair of frogs in amplexus in the garden pond, later in the evening! 

January 2019

I recorded 45 bird species on the 2nd on my first 'Local Patch' walk of 2019. There were no surprises, but it was great to see all five local tits (a marsh tit was seen in Reed village), large numbers of red kites (including one flying over my house), 11 grey partridges and a big flock of golden plover (I counted 148 from an image that I took of them in flight) at Greys Farm. A wintering male stonechat was on the Old Rifle Range on the 5th and a female was seen there on the 8th. Both birds have probably been present since late September 2018, although surprisingly I have only seen them together on one occasion. Also on the 8th a peregrine, my first local sighting for over a year, put all the gulls up at Greys Farm. I had a productive walk on the west side of The Heath on the 11th, connecting again with the roaming brambling flock (around 20 strong) in Fox Covert and also adding treecreeper to my year list. A long walk on the afternoon of the 15th, which was both literally and metaphorically very dull, was enlivened by a surprise sighting of a chiffchaff on the edge of my estate. The bird, which didn't hang around, was seen near a huge flock of tits, finches, dunnocks and robins. Wintering chiffchaffs have been seen at Royston sewage works, a couple of miles to the north, but this is only the second that I have encountered close to my home (the first was seen on a snowy morning in early February, several years ago). A week later, on a cold but sunny morning, a walk up the Icknield Way and onto The Heath provided my first local skylarks of the year, another sighting of the female stonechat on the Old Rifle Range (but still no sign of the male) and a flock of 19 corn buntings sitting in a tree. The following day I did a "there and back" afternoon walk up into Therfield village. On my way back down the Icknield Way I met a couple coming up the hill who had just seen a hen harrier. I was unable to find it, but as consolation did have good views of a hunting barn owl on Greys Farm. I had better luck on the 28th, when a 'ringtail' hen harrier hunting at Greys Farm gave good views before moving off north east in the direction of Heath Farm just before sunset. Half an hour later a barn owl was hunting in the usual field at Greys Farm. Earlier in the day I had seen female stonechats at both ends of The Heath and at least one female brambling in Fox Covert.