Clocks went forward today, and in order to get used to getting up early, I decided not to have a lie in this morning. Filling up the feeders at 0730 (still feeling like 0630) the sun was shining but there was a bit of a nip in the air.
Left for Amwell in the warmish sunshine and as soon as I hit the Lea at hertford I ran into a cold mist. It was only 3 degrees at Amwell and like many others I had not dressed for it.
Got my first Blackcaps in the lane-two singing males. For some reason I missed getting any in the garden over winter. Also there were at least three Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming and Chiffchaffs everywhere.
The lake was full of mist, visibility was not all that great, but I could see that there were still a few Goldeneye, Teal and Wigeon lingering. Lots of Reed Buntings singing now, as well as a few Cetti's. Two or three Redshank were present, but the expected Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers had yet to arrive. A walk south down to the hide with Phil and Bill produced nothing of interest and when Simon arrived we moved down to the Water Vole pool where the Bittern has been seen frequently. Despite it being a bit warmer nothing showed so we spent a while chatting. Eventually we walked down to Hollycross where a supposed Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been reported but we had nothing.
The picnic area is pretty quiet apart from Chiffchaffs-looks like the Siskin and Redpolls have departed though Simon heard a flyover Redpoll soon after. Bill and Phil left leaving Simon and myself at the watchpoint.
Noted that three Egyptian Geese had flown in-another year tick. With the mist lifting it was starting to get warmer and I noted to raptors clashing overhead, expecting Buzzard I saw a Red Kite and another bird. Simon stayed on the kite and I realised that the other bird's long pale underwings with large black hands and long tail suited male Marsh Harrier. Unfortunately both were still in light mist and the harrier drifted east and out of view so Simon never got good views. He did point out that the interaction with the Kite was a good clue as its not normal for Buzzards to do that.
Soon after, Simon saw a drake Mandarin fly in from the north and drop in behind the heron island. My third year tick out of the way we decided to quickly head down for another shot at Bittern now the sun was shining (no sign) before calling it a day.