Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wet and frosty weekend

Saturday was supposed to be wet most of the day around here so I did not intend to go out. However the forecast in the morning looked a lot better, with most of the rain occurring overnight  so as the drizzle had eased off I went down to Amwell. As soon as I got the car out it chucked down and I thought I'd made a mistake, but heading south it stopped and it remained largely dry in the valley.
Met up with Bill and Tony and had a quick scan-got my first Goldeneyes of the winter, two lovely drakes. With cloud and then light rain arriving we headed off to a hide to wait it but it quickly passed. Not much on view in the hide so I headed off to Tumbling Bay. The Scaup is now starting to acquire grey feathers on it's back but proved hard to find from the viewpoint, but I found a suitable spot in the wood a few hundred yards up where it showed quite well. A few Redwings, six Redpoll (with more flying over) and around 30 Siskin were also in the area. Made my way back via the picnic area and met up again with Bill, Tony and Phil.
A few flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare were visible over the far woods, with some coming over us. The recent Bearded Tits did not put in an appearance and neither did Water Rail though one was calling. The only different bird was the drake Mandarin very close to the watch point and largely hidden by the reeds. Very difficult to see, but it was eventually disturbed and swam out.

Had intended to go out with Colin today, probably Pagham Harbour and it's slightly suspect Hooded Merganser. However I was not feeling great in the evening and decided not to go. Good job too as the Merganser had flown off and there was no sign this morning.
Apart from a headache and bad neck I felt reasonable so went up to the Ickneild Way at Therfield. Last winters Shrike is back and there are up to three Hen Harriers and various owls around.
Blue sky all day after an overnight frost and a lovely morning. Parked in Therfield and headed north. Around 50 Golden Plover flew over and there was a continual movement of Yellowhammer, Linnet, Gold and Greenfinch Corn Bunting and Skylarks. Several coveys of Grey Partridge as well. Most raptors distant with many Buzzards, two red Kites and several Kestrels. Also a lot of Fieldfare and redwing in the area.
Met up with some birders who had seen the Shrike earlier and not long after getting to the escarpment overlooking Royston I saw it in top of a tree. Unfortunately disturbed by walkers, being a very busy area it flew off but returned about 15 minutes later. Managed to get a few images before it flew off again. Failed to see any harriers or owls this time.

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