After two months of watching migration from our gardens the Great Herts Autumn Vismig Watch came to an end on 31st October with an impressive 98 species recorded and just under 37,000 records.  There were many highlights including records of a Gannet, 3 Great White Egrets, 31 Pink-footed Geese, Merlin, Caspian Gull, Short-eared Owl, Rock Pipit, Crossbill, Firecrest and a county rarity in the form of a Yellow-browed Warbler. Full counts can be viewed on this Google Sheet.

The final week saw a ‘Best Bird’ challenge as the hunt for that elusive garden rarity intensified.  Some good birds were recorded including both species of partridge, Little Egret, Peregrine, Snipe and a selection of wildfowl.  In the end it was a narrow call between

Crossbill and Firecrest, but Firecrest, with the fewest historical records, clinched the victory for John Pritchard of Shafford Farm.  He wins a painting of a Firecrest by local wildlife artist Matt Moreton.  Congratulations to John!

Of course, migration continues with hundreds of Woodpigeon heading southwest at the moment and still a good chance of picking up Crossbills that have erupted this year.  Once again, a second lockdown provides an opportunity to spend more time in the garden – if you can brave the cold! 

The Google Sheet remains open for anyone who wishes to record their daily sightings throughout November.  Give it a go and you might be surprised as to what you see!