Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cetti's Warbler

A lovely sunny start to March in Stevenage when I got up, but it soon clouded over and got very cold.
I got down to Amwell around 0900, with a temperature of 3C and poor light. Couple of Goldcrests getting out of the car and four Redwing over, plus the usual singing Song Thrushes. No-one at the watchpoint as I got there, and there did not seem to be much around. One drake Wigeon-maybe the injured bird from last year and a couple of Teal and Goldeneye still. Barry had put Pintail on the board so I went down to the Gladwyn Hide but there was no sign. Tony Hukin had arrived by the time I got back, trying to track down a Cetti's Warbler. It flies around in the reeds but is difficult to pin down, but we managed to locate it and obtained good views. A bit distant for the camera.

We went down to the James Hide for a bit. One or two cetti's singing here, along with a Water Rail calling. The Kingfisher appeared at the back of the pool for a while.
Leaving the hide we were told that the 2w drake Smew was at Tumbling Bay so we went up there and soon located it. Unfortunately it was very flighty any movement would spook it. Despite being a red head, there is a lot more white in the head since I last saw it and the body is getting  a lot paler.
On the way back we tried to track down another Cetti's in brambles by the river, found a Treecreeper and a male Bullfinch and found what I presume were the Redwings I had seen earlier.
There was not much happening on the feeders at Hollycross and after a short spell at the watchpoint I left at 1220. Bumped into Ron Cousins and had a bit of a long chat about the recent aurora. Despite a number of alerts set up on the phone, I did not see it. The numbers suggested it would only likely be seen from northern parts so I did not go out and I was surprised the following day to see images taken locally from Bayford and even as far south as Jersey.

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