Have not been able to get out and about for a bit-frusrating as a 1w Caspian Gull has been roosting at Amwell for over a week. Decided to try and get down this afternoon.
Arrived to find the access track a sheet of ice-one elderly walker had got to the level crossing but decided to turn back. Took it gingerly and got to the watchpoint at around 1430. A couple of others were present but there was nothing much of note when I got there. The main lake was almost completely iced over with only about 10% open. Small flocks of gulls were on the ice, and there was still a large number of ducks in the water.
Around 1500, a flock of orange crowned ducks circled the island before dropping in. Expecting Wigeon, the lack of white in the wing was confusing and it was some time before the penny dropped and I realised that there were eight Mandarin coming in!
Not long after, a drake Goosander flew south, but we then had a very long wait with not much happening. Gull numbers increased,with small flocks arriving now and again and a few guys left, but a couple more arrived, including Ron Cousins and Graham White. I was intending to leave around 1600, and with it becoming even colder, I was getting prepared to leave when Graham suggested he had the Caspian in his scope. It was the most distant gull on the lake, and initially I wasn't sure, since it was facing away, but once the long legs and head structure could be seen it was clearly the bird. Don't know how it snuck in as we were only looking at the large numbers of Goldeneye there a few minutes before.
Its the one on the right.
Small birds were naturally scarce, but a single Cetti's was heard, there were a few Reed Buntings and Dunnocks, and a few thrushes including a nice Fieldfare.