Sunday, 22 December 2013


I was not holding out much hope for today. The windy weather had eased off (with more forecast tomorrow) but I woke up to very heavy rain. This did ease off and the sun came out so a trip to Amwell was on.
I arrived around 0930 to hear one or two Nuthatches in the woods by the lane. Got up to the watch point to find a very depleted Sunday crew-reputedly the weather may have put a few off. Also Bill had reportedly gone up to the Humber to see the Ivory Gull. When everyone started their walk, I went down to the Gladwyn hide and waited for the red head Smew to put in an appearance. Unfortunately when it did show it was a little way off for the 300mm even with the 1.7x converter.

I went back to the watchpoint and waited, but not much seemed to be happening. Checked the autofocus with a flyby 1w Lesser Black Backed. Also one or two Cetti's Warblers were seen flitting from one reed bed to another. Too far away and too quick for the camera.

Phil turned up as did one or two others. A few Greylags flew in, and then Phil spotted two Ring Necked Parakeets flying up the valley the other side of the pit. They circled round and were lost to view, but shortly after we heard them again. Barry has seen the odd one in recent years, and Jay saw one last week, and of course there was that big flock a few months ago that I saw fly over the A10 having been seen earlier at Amwell. Presume that they will be getting more regular.
Plenty of Buzzards up in the sunshine, and a nice Sparrowhawk put the Lapwing up. A big flock of Fieldfare flew over from the woods-small numbers of Redwing and Song Thrushes are present but Fieldfare have been pretty scarce here this winter.

Mick Cotton, Ron Cousins, Colin and his mate arrived and soon after Derek Ling and Sue-nice to see them as it has been quite a while since I last saw them. As if on cue a Peregrine was located above the woods (my one and only previous Amwell Peregrine was over 20 years ago in the company of Derek and Sue). This remained on view for a long time, coming over the pit chasing a Wigeon before flying to the north west end.

To add to the fun, an escaped Harris Hawk was seen hunting over the hill to the west. It remained on view for some time, and on a couple of occasions, the Peregrine took exception to it and we were treated to some amazing aerobatics.
The odd pale white rumped Buzzard then appeared over the fields. Those with scopes noted in the excellent light that it has some rufous tones on the upperparts suggesting it may be a Red Tailed Hawk (one of which used to be seen at Hunsdon some years ago and may have paired up with a Buzzard).

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