When we left Portland last Saturday, I suggested to Colin that maybe we would do the Brixham White Billed Diver and return to Portland to kick off the New Year in style. Having discussed the weather prospects yesterday we decided not to bother. As I write, neither the Diver or the Brunnichs have been seen today, so we may have saved a wasted journey.
Woke up to the winter song of the local Robin, and no wind and rain-not quite what I expected. Goldfinches on the feeders as usual-up to 15 at the moment, plus the regular Blackbirds and pigeons. Decided to visit Amwell while the weather remained fair.
Surprised at the lack of people presentTony at the viewpoint, one or two I did not know, Phil and Jay on site and that was it. Water levels very high, and few duck and gulls, though all the regular species were located. Pleased to see Julie arrive and after a brief chat as the first rain spots fell we decided to go down to the feeders. Met Phil and Jay by the metal gates watching a Bittern-my only Heron of the day. Showed quite well in the poor conditions.
On the Hollycross feeders we had a couple of Greenfinches, Goldfinch and Chaffinch, plus the usual Great Spotted Woodpecker. A few tits visited including the Marsh Tit, and a small flock of Redwing went over.
Returned to the watchpoint with the rain increasing and the Smew was pointed out-near the sluice feeding under the trees and very difficult to see. I decided to quit, leaving Julie in the Gladwyn hide. Bumped into Derek and Sue again, and had a quick chat as the weather was getting really bad and got home around 1130.
Sorting myself out I looked out at one of the Holly bushes, attracted by odd calls and realised that 4 or 5 Redwings were feeding on the berries.