Sunday, 12 February 2012

Icy Amwell

The unusual winter visitors were finally seen in the garden today.
Making breakfast I noticed several Song Thrush and Redwings among the Blackbirds feeding outside the kitchen window before flying over to the holly bushes where the snow had cleared. 
Evidence that a Song Thrush had been in the garden came from a few empty snail shells on the path. A pair of Great Tits were visiting the feeders while I had my coffee. Later in the afternoon, a Song Thrush came down to the patio and fed on the crushed suet balls. A lone Long Tail Tit was seen in the Rowan as well.

 I decided that as it was warming slightly that a visit to Amwell might be productive. Unfortunately the crossing is still shut so I went down to the next one and walked up the towpath. Bumped into Phil and had a chat. Most of the waters are iced up (as was the Lea Navigation, trapping all the barges) but he reported that small areas of water were still open. He also mentioned that Barry had taken part in the epic twitch to Japan for the Siberian Crane and Baer's Pochard last weekend.
The walk to the watchpoint was a bit slow as the path was covered in icy snow, and there was a constant movement of gulls and small birds in the trees. Chatted to one of the barge residents-he had apparently watched a white Stoat hunt rabbits in recent weeks.
 No-one at the watchpoint for a while until Tony arrived and eventually Alan reynolds and Bill turned up. Light misty rain added to the bleak scene in front of us. A largish area of water was still open between the hide and the big island and it was full of ducks, gulls, a few swans and lots of coot. A distant open area near the sluice held a huge flock of Coot, and some duck. With perseverance, a minimum of three redhead Smew could be located. A bonus of two Woodcock flying over us was a nice surprise-I had been checking the roads on the way down just in case, but did not expect to see any today.
 Walked down to the river bridge with Alan as Bullfinch and Water Rails had been seen here but we did not see any. The feeders by the hide had a few tits and the surrounding trees held a large flock of Siskin.

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