Yesterday I spent the morning in the rain at Amwell. Most of the waters are iced up still, but there are a few large open areas of water. Duck numbers seem to be stable and all the usual suspects are present. Goldeneye seem to have increased over the last month, and several males have started to display. There are up to five Smew present, though I could only find the stunning drake and a single redhead. I was only able to find two of the female Red Crested Pochard, and the only other slightly unusual duck was the Shelduck that has been present for a while now.
My main aim was to find one of the Bitterns. As most of the usual spots were iced up I was not hopeful and didn't see any. There were several Water Rails hunting on the ice in front of the reeds. Naturally, when the weather improved in the afternoon, both Bitterns did show.
Today I had a walk around Aston End and along the river Beane. It was lovely when the sun was shining, and it almost felt like spring with the tits Mistle Thrushes and Robins singing. Among a large flock of Coal Tits in one of the plantations I did get to hear one or two Goldcrests.
Out in the countryside it was a bit quiet as the winter thrushes were absent and most of the hedgerows were empty. I did encounter a few small finch flocks-Chaffinh and Greenfinch as well as some Yellowhammer.
The river is in full flood at the moment which makes a change. The usual Buzzards were displaying, and one came down and landed in a river side tree. Of course I did not have my camera with me. I could not find any of the Bullfinches at their regular spots, and the Little Owls were not showing either, probably due to activity in the paddocks. The last bit of the walk was a bit muddy in places, and frozen in others and once the sun went in and the wind picked up it was not as pleasant as it was earlier.
Came home to hear that a putative American Bittern at Marton Mere has not been seen. Saved a bit of cash there.