Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lovely Autumnal Day

Woke up to a frost and lots of sunshine. I had pretty much decided to go to Amwell, but with it being Remembrance Sunday had some doubts because we park very close to the memorial and I was expecting it to be busy. Drove down in glorious sunshine, light misty patches and fantastic autumnal colour even though many leaves have dropped. Amwell church was quite busy when I arrived but I was able to just about park in the usual spot.
Got to the watchpoint at 0930 and I was the only one there! Not long after, Tony Mike and John Bartlett arrived. Most of the Sunday crowd are in Ethiopia and it turned out that the regulars were up at tumbling Bay.
 Water levels are quite high now, probably the highest for a couple of years and apparently there are pans to raise it a bit more. As a result ducks like Wigeon and Teal are largely feeding elsewhere but diving ducks are increasing. Apparently there are a few Goldeneye in now, as well as the ever elusive Mandarin. Bit early still for any Smew of course. Don't know how many Snipe are present-one or two in the new cut in front of the watchpoint and some flying around and dropping into a reed-bed pool where one of the big willows were taken out.
We walked down to the Water Vole pool where Jay had seen a Bittern recently. Being a nice sunny day there was a chance it may have emerged but there was no sign. I did see a Kingfisher briefly though, there was a Cetti's Warbler calling and a female Bullfinch sat in one of the willows. The alders in the picnic area held a small flock of Siskin, Goldfinch and a single Redpoll.
Back at the watchpoint we met up with every one else. A couple of Red Kites were over the woods and there were the usual small flocks of distant thrushes moving. One bonus with the new cut was the superb views of a Water Rail which climbed up the reeds and started sunning itself. Being a bit of a sun trap a Migrant Hawker and a pair of Common Darters were also seen.
On the way home, the lack of leaves enabled me to see three Little Egrets  by the stream at Hooks Cross.

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