Did not feel up to going out yesterday, so spent a lot of time scanning the garden. Being a very damp drizzly day, it remained fairly quiet with only a few birds visiting, and not much seen in the murk flying over.
This morning, I thought I'd try and get down to Amwell for a few hours. Worth Doing.
Barry, Jan and Phil are back in South America, but the usual Sunday crowd was present. Unfortunately so was a big working party, but they did not cause much disturbance. Something like 70% of the main lake is completely iced up, with most of the open water in front of the watch point.
First decent bird was a Red head Smew feeding on the ice edge not too far away-another was found soon after. The grotty Pintail has now moulted into a fine drake, though at times it proved very elusive. All five expected gull species were loafing on the ice-Dave Beer tried but failed to find Yellow Legged.
With Tony, we went down to the Water Vole pit, which surprisingly was largely ice free. A small flock of Siskin flew through We just missed a Bittern, but found the three female type Red Crested Pochards-they had moved from the largely iced up Hollycross, which is where we headed to. Took a while but eventually Tony found the stunning drake Smew.
We returned to the Water Vole pit and I found a Water Rail scurrying through the cuttings, and not long after that I saw the Bittern come out onto the ice at the back where it posed for a few minutes. Happy, we returned to the watchpoint, having found Marsh Tit among one of the tit flocks.
A last scan of the reserve failed to find anything new-the ground is so frozen there are no Snipe for example, and few passerines feeding, though one or two Cetti's Warblers are calling.
On the way back I called in at Tanners Close hertford where 26 Waxwings were sitting in two trees.