Sunday, 30 November 2014

Saturday Morning at Amwell

Time for another visit. Last weekend was a bit of a non event, due to the weather and I did not feel the motivation to go out, so I thought I'd better do something.
On my last visit there were a few gulls that needed checking, and at the moment there are several Yellow legged and Caspians turning up in the roost so I decided to forgo the camera and take the scope with me. The light was a bit grotty for photography anyway.
Walking up the lane there were a few Mistle Thrushes in the bushes and small parties of Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush moving around. A few tits, Robins and Dunnocks were encountered as usual, and there is supposed to be at least one Blackcap and some Chiffs still in the ivy.
The water on Hardmead Lake is very high now, and there is not much in the way of islands or muddy edges now, and over the last week bays have been cut in the reeds for the Bitterns, though it has been a while since one was reported. Wildfowl  numbers vary through the day as birds come and go, with many geese and Wigeon using it as a roost but Goldeneye numbers have increased 100% to 4. Two Egyptian Geese dropped in briefly when Phil arrived, and he said he had a Goosander earlier in the week-getting hard to find in the valley these days and of course there is no sign of Smew appearing any time soon.
Phil went down to Hollycross to top up the feeders and I eventually joined him having had a walk in the woods. The big flock of Goldfinch in the alders had three or four Siskins, but no Redpolls yet. Lots of Chaffinch and thrushes around as well. While the usual big flock of Long Tail Tits was encountered, Goldcrests seemed to be in short supply compared to recent visits and there was no sign of the Marsh or Coal Tits. About the only thing around the feeders were the sheep and Pheasants.
We went went back to the viewpoint and down to Gladwin Hide to check the gulls out, being joined by Tony Hukin. Although numbers were building up, there was nothing unusual. One Lesser Black Backed was ringed, but it was standing in an awkward position and we never got the number before everything was flushed. Some of the smaller gulls gradually returned but the bigger ones took their time so we gave up and went back to the viewpoint where we found Ade, Ron and Dave. I hung around for a bit but feeling a bit chilly decided to leave for an early lunch.

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