New Years Day and the start of another birding year. Woke up to the melodious sounds of the local Carrion Crows, then during breakfast the local Goldfinches and Blackbirds came down to feed.
No attempt at a big start to the year so headed off to Amwell, parking just behind Royston Dave as he unloaded. Seems like every other birder was around, with a lot I have never seen before.
We had a few Goldcrests along the approach track and joined Bill and Phil at the watchpoint. Usual assortment of birds, though with it being a still sunny day there were more smaller birds around. Not long after Bill and Phil left all the birds went up, I assumed raptor and started scanning the sky when someone shouted Bittern-one had flown up from the sluice, over the hide and down in the northern reeds. I was too slow with the camera-it was beautifully lit.
Dave and i eventually headed up to Tumbling bay, via the Siskins in the woods. We were diverted by Julie who had found a Bullfinch though it never showed for us, but we had nice views of a few things like a Redwing in the bushes. Met up with Tony and Brian and carried on up.
The Scaup was easy to locate, in the usual spot but there was no sign of the Smew though a few claimed to have seen it further up. Joined again by Phil Bill and Mike we carried on up, bumping into Jay who had done a complete circuit of Tumbling Bay with no sign of any Smew. A search failed to find it However on the way back we stopped off at the view point and another scan located the redhead. Must have been tucked up under the trees. Four Red Kites overhead was a nice sight.
By midday the watchpoint was packed and there was not much else to see so we stood around chatting. Nice to see William again, as well as one or two others i had not seen for a while.