Sunday, 5 October 2014

Amwell Raptorfest

Bit of an exaggeration as it wasn't quite like Falsterbo or the Bosphorus, but this morning was pretty good.
Following yesterdays heavy rain and cold front, today was very much the first autumnal day. There was an overnight frost in the countryside, and as I drove down through Hooks Cross and on towards Wadesmill in the bright sunshine, the low lying mist over the fields was stunning, just a shame that there was nowhere to stop for good photos. Temperature at 0830 on the road was a chilly 4C, a good 10 below what it has been recently.
Heavy dew on the cobweb strewn Hemlock stems along the Amwell track was very photogenic.

Very few people at the viewpoint when I arrived. Tony Hukin and Trevor were watching a Kingfisher fishing in front of the White Hide, and a latecomer found a Green Sandpiper. A few Swallows, Larks and Pipits were passing through from time to time. The Stonechats appear to have gone-Phil has had three or four up 'til yesterday but could not locate any today. The Parakeets seem to be well established in the woods opposite and were very vocal but hard to see.
A few Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters and singles of Red Admiral and Peacock were still flying.
Eventually quite a crowd built up but little was happening so most went for a stroll leaving me with Bill. Things remained quiet for some time-we had had a Kite being mobbed by four crows, and a pair of Kestrels were hunting up towards Tumbling Bay. Bill had gone down to the observing platform and as a few others turned up I heard him shout Marsh Harrier. He rushed back up saying a male had crossed the west end, circling. I went over to the bridge and picked it up as it slowly drifted over the railway-luckily many of those had returned from their walkabout and managed to see it. Unfortunately it was much too far away for the 300mm lens.

Colin and his mate arrived moments too late unfortunately.
As it was now fairly warm, Buzzard numbers were increasing with birds everywhere we looked, and later three Red Kites were seen over the fields to the north, and one or two Sparrowhawks were over the woods. Phil decided to leave, and had only got over the bridge when he rushed back as he had pretty convincing views of a female Marsh Harrier! Unfortunately no-one else saw it. The Hobby then put in a brief  appearance over the wood being chased off by a corvid which was a nice end to the day.
So in total, 3+ Kites, 1+ Marsh Harrier, 2 each of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, 1 Hobby and at a rough guess 10+ Buzzards. And more Kites and Buzzards on the drive home.

1 comment:

leslie taylor said...

Hi Phil i have the same problems as you had, a beautiful scene stretching out in front of you, but no where to stop the car so you can take picture. Missed out on a lot of good opportunities...O well.