“The Stats” (8pm on 9th Nov)

This Week: Totals vs Last Week vs Same Week 2020
Total No. of Species  62  ↑ 1  ↑ 10
Total No. of Birds  10,380  ↑ 3,622  ↑ 1,888


To November 9th 2021 vs 2020
Total No. of Species  98  Equal
Total No. of Birds  64,143  ↑25,524

The week began cold with the first heavy frosts courtesy of a north-westerly wind but for the latter half of the week became mild as the wind switched back to southwest.  In the main dry weather aided observation and as a result the ‘stats’ were much improved with 10 more species being recorded this week and the autumn total growing to 98 species as a consequence.

The stand-out highlight of the week was the long-awaited and long-anticipated arrival of the now officially late Fieldfares.  Streaming in on 4th along with a renewed passage of Redwings the 650 records across Herts gardens reflected a nationwide influx.  Although somewhat over-shadowed by the Fieldfares, Redwings nevertheless recorded their highest peak this autumn with 2,086 on 4th.

It was also a good week for

many of the other winter migrants with Chaffinches moving all week but peaking with 110 on 6th along with Siskins, Redpolls, Greenfinches and Goldfinches.  The trickle of Brambling continued and we can look forward to many more records as these birds are undoubtedly here to stay this winter in good numbers.  Skylarks and Meadow Pipits also continue to be recorded over gardens.

In gardens some of the more ‘taken for granted’ birds were up in numbers with Blackbirds, Song and Mistle Thrushes being recorded more regularly as they seek out berry and fruit trees.  Also of note were much higher numbers of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, perhaps an indication that these birds are beginning to feel the colder weather and forming larger flocks to defend against the cold and predators.  Goldcrest numbers are also up, swelled no doubt by arrivals from the continent and the odd Chiffchaff lingers.

Highlights from the week included the arrival of the Fieldfares and with them a renewed vismig experience.  It never ceases to amaze that these birds, along with so many others, are fresh in from a perilous journey across the North Sea!  Bird of the week was definitely the Merlin seen from a garden in Great Gaddesden – an unexpected but welcome addition to the autumn list.  A female Pheasant on 8th was a new addition to a Stevenage garden list and possibly a displaced bird following the fireworks at the weekend.  The remains of a Pheasant were also found in a St Albans garden, no doubt displaced by a fox!  Otherwise, a Peregrine was over a Stevenage garden on 6th and the first Green Woodpecker for a while was heard from a St Albans garden.

Looking ahead, the hunt is on for the 99th & 100th species!  A change in wind direction at the weekend to a more easterly stream may, in the words of one bird, “give us a final throw of the Siberian dice”!  The birding stakes are certainly raised when easterlies blow in Herts so keeping ears and eyes peeled will be imperative.  That said, it may fall to the water birds to boost the list – flyover Shelduck, Tufted Ducks or Pochard are possible anywhere.  Great White Egret or even Cattle Egret could grace skies above our gardens and why not Goosander or Red-breasted Merganser?!

As always please add your garden sightings to the Googlesheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q8Xibna0OISTAD5LAcaOC9bX6E2HTHuwXtwojpMzJrw/edit#gid=1901145455