Following on from his White-winged Black Tern find at Tyttenhanger last Autumn, Steve Blake once again struck patch gold this time adding a new species to the Herts list. Read Steve's account of his find below.

" Monday, 16th April 2018

After what felt like a never ending wet and cold winter, today felt more like spring had finally arrived!  Although some migrant birds were already on site, I had a few target birds in mind, planning to cover the whole site in pursuit of those species.

I parked in Willows Farm car park. A few minutes later, another birder, Jo Edwards arrived. He also had species he hoped to find, so we teamed up.

The fishing lakes didn’t produce anything much of interest, just the usual pair of Oystercatchers plus some very vocal Blackcaps and Chiffchaff.

Not much was happening on the main pit or around the paddocks of Tyttenhanger farm. As we were about to descend on to the scrape... we heard the song of a Willow Warbler... a target bird for Jo. It was deep in a Willow bush but eventually showed itself and was safely recorded on Jo’s year list.

Crossing the scrape, I noticed a small bird fly from a patch of bulrush into a bush further back. I could see that it looked different and managed the briefest of views before it flew deep into the bushes. I was convinced I had just seen a Penduline Tit! I never said anything to Jo at first.  All sorts of things were going through my mind...am I sure?...who will believe me?...shall I report it as just a probable?...will it comeback?...maybe Jo will think I’ve lost the plot!!

I told Jo I was certain what I’d seen. We staked out the area, cameras primed and ready! After what seemed an eternity, I decided to report it as a “probable” sighting.  Jo was preparing to leave, but I decided to stay for another hour. Then...a definite call over our heads, and as fast as it disappeared it appeared again, on top of a bush, giving Jo the opportunity to fire off a few very rushed shots before it again flew a short way and disappeared

I put the news out on Twitter and the Bird News Services. Birders soon arrived. They had a long and nervous wait until eventually it returned again, offering views down to 10 metres at times, giving everyone good photo opportunities.

The bird went missing for a long period, but eventually was re-located in a different area and was watched until it went to roost at dusk. At first light, four birders saw it again, but at approximately 6.45am it quickly decided to leave, heading high NE"

The bird had a metal ring and based on the digits that were visible it is believed this bird was ringed last Autumn on Alderney and overwintered at Longford, Gloucestershire.