Never did get round to any updates over the last couple of weeks. Not that I did much with family up for half term and so on.
Last Saturday, had a report of 15 Waxwings Stevenage. No other details. Anyway got out for a couple of hours and explored the favoured spots, but no birds and no birders, so I headed off to Deadman's Hill as it looked good for raptors. Drove out to Coombe Road from Kelshall, and a Peregrine took off from a tree just in front of the car, but I lost it behind a hedge. Discovered hikers crossing the fields at Coombe Road so went to Deadman's Hill and joined a small group. We had a couple of Red Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels, but the Hen Harrier failed to show (mainly because it was two miles east of us at the time). With another Waxwing report with more detail-opposite Durham Road, I went back for another look. Bumped into William Bishop who had been there for a couple of hours, and we met up with most of the Stevenage locals. No-one had seen a thing all afternoon. Eventually we called it a day.
Sunday morning at Amwell was a bit quiet and I was not able to stay long anyway. Had a Marsh Tit and five Red Crested Pochards.
Today the plan was to be at Zennor Cornwall and see the American Bittern. With all the alleged flushing/chasing the bird on Friday over the moors etc and no sign after 10 am I decided to wait. Just about to leave for Amwell and it came on this morning but decided to carry on with my journey. Heard that William and Jan reacted to the message and went from Amwell. Unfortunately no sign again from after mid morning.
When I got to Amwell, assumed that everyone else had gone as well, with no one in sight. Usual assortment of ducks and gulls, but still no Goldeneye or Bittern for the winter. Was about to stretch my legs when I got a pager report of three Bearded Tits from the James Hide. Tony was just leaving and showed me a photo of a male. Found Barry and Dave upstairs and not long afterwards, three Bearded Tits (two males) put on a very good show. They remained for about fifteen minutes before flying to a distant part of the reed bed. Heard them occasionally but very faintly for a while, but I decided to go back to the watchpoint. Met up with Phil Ball recently back from an extended India/Sri Lanka trip and we were joined by Colin. Had two Kingfishers flying around for a while and just after noon, I heard pings again, and one of the males flew into the reeds just in front of us where it remained for some time.
Off to Cornwall tonight. Hopefully the Bittern will leave the roost at the usual time. Not much else down there though.