Bird species recorded at Gadespring Cress Beds - Commoner species in Black, species less common in the area or only more common locally in Green, locally scarce & notable species in Amber, & locally rare & regionally scarce species in Red:
- Mute Swan - I saw 2 fly low over E on 18/11/2014.
- Cormorant - often flying over following the canal when commuting between the local fisheries.
- Little Egret - one fairly regular adult bird & a new bird for the Hemel area, a Juvenile, was there on 14/08/2014.
- Grey Heron - at least 2 regular birds.
- Canada Goose - sometimes sat on canal bank on S side of site.
- Mallard - very regular.
- Red Kite - often soaring overhead.
- Buzzard - soaring overhead fairly often.
- Sparrowhawk - hunting small birds at the site fairly often, uses posts along the footpath to rest & lookout.
- Kestrel - one seen flying over from Westbrook Hay on 01/10/2014.
- Pheasant - 1 Male & 1 Female seen sometimes, possibly a resident pair.
- Moorhen - common resident.
- Common Snipe - David Kirk has seen one, & I saw one flying over on 23/12/2012.
- Black-headed Gull - often flying through, most often in Winter when there are often large flocks on Chaulden Meadow to the North.
- Common Gull - sometimes seen flying through in Winter, usually when accompanying the Black-headed Gull flocks on Chaulden Meadow to the North, where they are seen fairly regularly.
- Herring Gull - I saw 1 fly low over E on 18/11/2014.
- Lesser Black-backed Gull - sometimes seen flying through in Winter, usually when accompanying the Black-headed Gull flocks on Chaulden Meadow to the North, where they are seen regularly, but can be seen flying over throughout the year.
- Common Tern - sometimes flying through when following the canal from Spring to late Summer, which they do often.
- Feral Pigeon - sometimes seen flying over.
- Stock Dove - occasionally seen flying over.
- Wood Pigeon - common resident with increased numbers during Winter.
- Collared Dove - often around Chaulden Meadow to the N.
- Swift - sometimes seen flying through when hunting in late Spring & Summer & seen overhead fairly often at these times.
- Kingfisher - regular & a possible breeder.
- Green Woodpecker - fairly regular, sometimes seen feeding on grass footpath.
- Great Spotted Woodpecker - fairly regular, usually at top of larger trees on North side of site.
- Skylark - sometimes flying over on Spring & Autumn migration.
- Meadow Pipit - sometimes flying over on Spring & Autumn migration, 1 also seen feeding at the Trust's cress bed steam across canal on 23/12/2010, but not quite viewable from Gadespring.
- Swallow - sometimes seen flying through when hunting from Spring to Autumn, usually when birds are passing on migration.
- House Martin - sometimes seen flying over when hunting from Spring to Autumn.
- Pied Wagtail - occasionally seen flying over & sometimes feeding on Chaulden Meadow to the North..
- Grey Wagtail - regular couple of birds.
- Wren - common resident but sometimes hard to find.
- Dunnock - common resident.
- Robin - common resident.
- Song Thrush - resident but not often seen.
- Redwing - occasionally visiting the site in Winter but more often seen in flocks passing over, particularly in Autumn & early Winter.
- Mistle Thrush - regular but more often in Winter, often feeding on Chaulden Meadow to the North.
- Fieldfare - sometimes flying around Winter time.
- Blackbird - common resident with increased numbers during Winter.
- Blackcap - common in Spring, Summer & early Autumn, & sometimes seen late Autumn.
- Whitethroat - one or two seen Spring, often singing, & a few around late Summer, possibly bred in 2014.
- Willow Warbler - sometimes seen with Chiffchaffs passing though in Spring but most likely early Autumn.
- Chiffchaff - common in Spring, Summer & early Autumn, & fairly regular late Autumn.
- Goldcrest - regular 2 which are a possible pair, & additional birds during Winter, usually seen in bushes along first 300m of footpath, if they are being more secretive they can often be found in the Conifers around the site entrance or the Yew & Hollies C.250m along the footpath.
- Great Tit - common resident with increased numbers during Winter when roving Tit flocks visit.
- Coal Tit - occasionally seen around the area.
- Blue Tit - common resident with increased numbers during Winter when roving Tit flocks visit.
- Long-tailed Tit - regular with increased numbers during Winter when roving Tit flocks visit.
- Nuthatch - I saw 2 on 27/10/2014 around Chaulden Meadow to the N.
- Treecreeper - very occasionally around the area & then most likely to be heard than seen.
- Magpie - common resident.
- Jay - fairly regular around Winter & higher numbers passing in Autumn.
- Jackdaw - regular.
- Carrion Crow - regular.
- Raven - David Kirk has seen one flying over.
- Starling - sometimes seen in trees on North side of site, usually when the regular flocks feed on Chaulden Meadow to the North.
- House Sparrow - often around Chaulden Meadow to the N.
- Chaffinch - common resident.
- Lesser Redpoll - scarce Winter visitor, I saw 1 on 07/01/2014, & C.6 during Winter 2009/10.
- Goldfinch - often a few around, usually at end nearest entrance.
- Greenfinch - often a few around, most reliable place locally to see them, usually at end nearest entrance.
- Siskin - scarce Winter visitor, I saw 5 on 16/10/2014.
- Reed Bunting - occasional visitor, I saw a Male singing regularly during Spring 2014, usually seen near tops of bushes along first 100m of footpath.
- Little Grebe - I saw one at the Trust's cress bed stream across the canal to the S, but not quite viewable from Gadespring, from 07/01/2014 to 04/02/2014 at least.
- Gadwall - I have seen a Female at the Trust's cress bed stream across the canal to the S, but not quite viewable from Gadespring.
- Coot - I have seen them at the Trust's cress bed stream across the canal to the S, but not quite viewable from Gadespring.
- Water Rail - I saw one in the ditch at the Trust's Fishery Moor to the ESE in November 2001 & a Hemel resident also saw one there during Winter 2013/14.
- Barn Owl - the group attending the Box Moor Trust Moth, Bat & Glow Worm event on 27/06/2014 saw one quartering the field to the WNW, W of Chaulden Meadow between Chaulden Lane & the railway bridge.
- Reed Warbler - one has been reported at the small reedbed at NW corner of the Trust's Fishery Moor to the SE.
- Goosander - I have seen them in flight following the canal from the Trust's Boxmoor Wharfe on two occasions, 3 on 25/01/2012, & 5 on 29/11/2012, & their routes probably took them past Gadespring.
- Goldeneye - I saw 3 (at least 1 male & 1 female) in flight following the canal from the Trust's Harding's Moor on 23/12/2010, their routes probably took them past Gadespring & they were vivibly heading over that way.
- Arctic Tern - I saw one hunting between the Trust's Boxmoor Wharfe & Bulbourne Moor before following the canal West on 25/04/2012 during a notable nationwide influx, & its route very likey took it past Gadespring.
Some of the rarer or scarce waterbirds that Gadespring has the potential to attract are Water Rail, Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Gadwall & Marsh Tit in Winter, Reed Warbler & Sedge Warbler during the breeding season, & Spring & Autumn migration periods, & Reed Bunting all year round. There is even the possibility of the secretive but loud Cetti's Warbler arriving at Gadespring. It is a species that is expanding its range & now present locally throughout the South of England despite the first UK record being as recent as 1961, & the first confirmed breeding in 1973. They are already present within 8 miles of Gadespring, both to the NW at Tring Reservoirs, & to the S at the lakes at Rickmansworth, both of these areas being connected to Gadespring via the Grand Union Canal. I actually saw & heard one singing its explosive song only 3 miles away, along the canal at Kings Langley, during Spring 2014 so they appear to be creeping, or in their case skulking, closer & closer.
at Water End, 12/02/2012
at the Trust's Two Waters Moor (West), 23/12/2009
at night at the Trust's Bulbourne Moor, 11/02/2012
at night at the Trust's Harding's Moor, 30/12/2010
Reed Buntings are already showing interest in Gadespring as a potential breeding site, which is a good indicator that the site has all the right features needed to grow into a small haven for wetland birds, whether it be for breeding, passing through on migration, or over-wintering. I have seen Common Snipe passing over Gadespring in the Winter & it is only time before they find the site, especially as they are already enjoyed the use of Trust land not far away, at the Bulbourne / London Road moors, during harsher Winters. In Winter 2010/11 I also found two of the much rarer Jack Snipe at Harding's Moor, these small snipe are quite approachable, relying on their cryptic camouflage & not taking flight unless necessary, so they could well have visited the perfect habitat at Gadespring already, just without being noticed. I have seen Green Sandpiper, possibly the same or just a couple of individuals, fairly reliably at the moors, along the River Bulbourne during harsher Winters, & this is also a bird likely at some point to visit the areas of shallow water & muddy river banks at Gadespring during these times.