Following on from the great success of the Great Herts Garden Bird Count in April 2020, the Herts Bird Club decided to continue with a new challenge whilst the country was still in partial lockdown, and so with the aim of keeping interest up and adding value to bird records, the Great Herts Breeding Bird Challenge was created.
Observers were asked to submit all breeding records, especially those proving breeding, to the website. They were asked to use the standard BTO breeding codes from the drop down menus on the website, as well as grid references where possible. This allowed accurate recording of location and breeding status.
This challenge ran all summer and
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
The Site names available in the dropdown on the Record Submission page for the Cheshunt Gravel Pits in the lower Lee Valley have been updated.
The updated names are more consistently organised and align with the different water and pit names as shown on the Cheshunt Pits Site Guide. Running north to south they are:
- Cheshunt GPs - Slipe Lane Pits
- Cheshunt GPs - Long Pit
- Cheshunt GPs - Ashley Pit
- Cheshunt GPs - Turnford Pit South
- Cheshunt GPs - North Met Pit
- Cheshunt GPs - Cheshunt Lake
- Cheshunt GPs - Bowyers Water
In spite of (and perhaps because of) the poor weather, The Autumn Herts 24-hr Garden Vismig Race on Sat 3rd October, proved a big success. Visible migration was observed from a number of Herts gardens throughout the day and highlights included a Merlin from a garden in Walkern , Golden Plovers over gardens in St Albans and Walkern, 17 Snipe and
2020 has seen not one, nor two but three pairs of Peregrine breed in Hertfordshire, the highest number to date since the first confirmed pairs in 2017. In total, nine young successfully fledged in 2020: two from a pair at Watford, four from a pair in the north of the county near Hitchin, and for the first time three from a pair at Welwyn Garden City.
And, not only was it the first time a pair have successfully bred at Welwyn Garden City, but, all three of the young were colour ringed; a first for this species in Herts.
Read Barry Trevis and Colin Shawyer's account of this fantastic success below: