Did not plan on doing anything on Saturday-after a long tiring day out I sometimes need a bit of time to recover, and there is the usual lack of anything on the pager to tempt us out.
I did go down to Amwell in the morning-the regulars were out in force today. William had been for the Northumberland Sykes so that provoked some discussion, as did his cancelled Scillonian Pelagic. A number had also been for the Kelling Lesser Grey Shrike and this of course prompted one or two recollections from the old timers about dim and distant twitches-like mine from 1994.
Despite the vast expanse of mud, few waders seem to be present-a couple of Common and Green Sandpipers seemed to be it until two Snipe popped up. There had been a Greenshank in the week. Duck numbers seem to be on the slow increase, though the only new birds seemed to be Shoveller. There have been up to four Mandarin, which is pretty unusual for the reserve, and one sleeping female remained. A few terns remain, and also Black Headed Gull-among them was a first summer Yellow Legged Gull. Hirundines are still around-I missed a large flock of House Martin, though I did see a few Sand Martins go through, and Swallows still remain.
Big problem for me is that just after I got there my back went, even though I was just leaning against the fence. Had to call a halt to the visit after a couple of hours as it was getting too uncomfortable. Spent the rest of the day reading the new books and trying to work out how to use a flash gun-32 years of photography and I have never had one before. Turned out to be bolt it on the camera and press the shutter. Worked even with my all manual, no cpu Zeiss.
Today the back is a bit better. Had a potter round the garden and finally managed to net one of the grasshoppers that have been so hard to capture. Apparently I have Field Grasshoppers.