The Hertford we know and love is a county town bursting with history and character. What makes this place so special though are the residents who call it home. As Hertford humans we are a pretty nice bunch however, we are not the only species residing in Hertford and the surrounding countryside.
To the untrained eye its easy to miss the rich variety of wildlife all around. We teamed up with local wildlife photographer Stuart Fox who is an expert when it comes to capturing images of local nature.
All the images below have been taken within a few miles of Hertford. Stuart has chosen species of mammals, birds, butterflies and more all of which are fairly easy to spot depending on the season.
About Stuart Fox
“I have always had a love for wildlife, especially birds from an early age and cut my teeth birding in the industrial landscape of Teesside. Early retirement has allowed me to rekindle another passion – photography! The advent of digital photography has made wildlife photography much more accessible and whilst a lot of my photography is done locally, I really enjoy trips farther afield. My camera kit comprises Canon DSLR bodies and a mixture of Canon and Sigma lens.
Living in Hertford for over 30 years I know and love some great places to see wildlife. Hopefully, these photographs will inspire you to explore what is on our doorstep and possibly support some of the local and national charities that do so much to protect these valuable places.”
The Red Kite is a medium / large bird of prey with a wingspan of up to 1.8m. They are listed globally as near threatened however can be seen year round over the Hertford skies especially over Bengeo and the Waterford Heath nature reserve.
Marbled White Butterfly
The Marbled White is a distinctive and attractive black and white butterfly found all over southern England.
The little egret is a species of small heron and can be found among other places over the Kings Meads Hertford.
Kestrels are a familiar sight with their pointed wings and long tail, hovering above. This great image was taken during the summer months over nearby Rye Meads.
A secretive bird, very difficult to see, as it moves silently through the Amwell reeds at water’s edge, looking for fish. The males make a remarkable far-carrying, booming sound in spring.
This Fox cub was seen enjoying the summer last year over the Kings Meads.
With it’s heart-shaped face, the barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. If you are lucky you may spot these amzing birds over the Kings Meads or Amwell Nature Reserve.
The Little Owl can be seen in the daylight, usually perching on a tree branch, telegraph pole or rock. It will bob its head up and down when alarmed. This great image was taken by Stuart in the Bramfield area.
This amazing image was taken over Panshanger Park last year. A migratory bird, it is present in the UK in summer. Ospreys eat fish, catching them in spectacular fashion as they dive towards lakes and lochs, stretch out their talons and scooping them out of the water with ease. The Osprey has a wingspan of 1.6m!
This Grey Heron can be found over the Kings Meads. Grey herons are unmistakeable: tall, with long legs, a long beak and grey, black and white feathering. They can stand with their neck stretched out, looking for food, or hunched down with their neck bent over their chest.
Local Nature Sites
There are some fantastic local nature Reserves on our doorstep, and here are just a few that you might want to explore.
Amwell – One of the best places for birds in the whole of Hertfordshire. In Winter there is usually a secretive Bittern, Snipe, Egrets and good duck numbers. Summer sees some breeding birds such as Little Ringed Plovers, Common Tern and Oystercatcher with Hobbies over the wood. In Spring and Autumn, almost anything can turn up.
Waterford Heath – Like Amwell, a former quarry and is a great place for unusual plants and butterflies including Grizzled Skipper.
King’s Meads – Between Hertford and Ware this wetland area is great for birds including Warblers in the Summer and a great place to see Kingfisher’s. Early mornings, or dusk is a great time to try and see Foxes and Barn Owls.
Panshanger Park – Only recently opened up for wider access a great place for Dragonflies in the summer and Red Kites, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk all year round. The last few years have seen a magnificent Osprey stopping off for a week or so before migrating back to Africa.
Hertford Heath & Balls Wood – Both the Heath and Woodland is good for common woodland birds such as Great Spotted Woodpecker as well as Dragonflies and Butterflies. Reptiles include Slow-worm and Grass Snakes.
Rye Meads – Slightly further away is the RSPB Reserve which is also great for children. A good place for a variety of ducks and probably the most reliable site to see Kingfishers, especially during their breeding season.
Part 2 Coming Soon!
A huge thank you to Stuart Fox for sharing these amazing images and information on the wildlife found all around Hertford. There are many more image to follow so check back soon for an awesome part 2!
You can follow Stuart across social media via the following..
Twitter – @StuartFox1
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Foxbirding
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/foxbirding
Flickr – stuartfox4
Also check out Stuart’s website which can be found at https://foxbirding.weebly.com
Discover more & support
Several the above sites are managed and protected by The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust. If you are not already a member, please do think about joining as your support and membership are essential. Equally, the RSPB has a highly active and friendly local Group which covers Hertford and offers walks, meetings and trips. Please see some useful links below.