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.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday Morning at Amwell

Having been out of action for a while, I was able to get down to Amwell for a few hours, my first visit for about three weeks. I was a bit undecided at first, as it was quite misty when I got up-pretty much the same as yesterday and it was little indication from the forecast about when or if it would lift.
Driving down to Watton at Stone, the Sun started to break through- a good sign which was unfortunately dashed when I crossed the Lea on the A10 and visibility dropped considerably. Amazed at the number of dick heads who think that silver cars in fog don't need any lights on but there you go, maybe they will learn the hard way.
John Bartlett arrived at the same time so we wandered up to the view point, happily visibility was good enough to see the entire lake. Water levels have crept up a bit since I was last here though it appeared that everything else was pretty much the same. It would have been nice if the Great White Egret seen yesterday heading to the Netherhall roost and flying north over Rye Meads at 7 am this morning had actually made it to Amwell but all the egrets were Little.
There were a decent number of large gulls at the southern end so I headed off down there joining John and Trevor in the hide. I reasonable Caspian candidate-2W was picked up but too far for my bins, unfortunately it failed all the tests in Trevor's scope, and a later attempt at a maybe Yellow Legged failed as well-it was white headed and the mantle colour was identical to a nearby Common Gull so it was worth a punt.
Eventually I made my way down to Hollycross, picking up a small flock of Redwings, one or more calling Bullfinch and a Marsh Tit by the bridges. There seemed to be a huge number of Long Tailed Tits and Goldcrests along this stretch. The feeders were as popular as last year, producing good numbers of Chaffinch and Goldfinch, several Pheasants at least one marsh Tit and one or two Coal Tits.
I made my way back to the view point through the woods picking up even more crests, but a search of the alders failed to pick up any Siskin in the Goldfinch flocks.  A Treecreeper would have been nice too.
Autumn colour is still pretty good but there seems dot be a distinct lack of fungi on my circuit.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Some More of the Hay Street Rough Legged Buzzard

Rough Legged Buzzard at Hay Street

Well I finally managed to get over to Hay Street. I was a little uncertain on where exactly the Rough Legged was, but it was clear from the parked cars where to go.
Initially went down the footpath into the middle of the set aside area, joining one of the regular Amwell guys. Lots of Skylark in the area plus a few Meadow Pipits but not much else.
The Rough legged was on show pretty much all the time, hunting a nice hedgerow with a wide set aside/game cover strip, occasionally hovering and on several occasions dropping down to catch voles (presumably). Largely distant, it did occasionally drift over the road to the north and once came fairly close. Eventually it drifted over the road and was lost to view so we went back up to the road and stuck around for a bit. Up to six Common Buzzards, two Kestrels, one Sparrowhawk and one or two red Kites  were in the area. Over the course of the morning we were joined by many others-Ken and Linda Smith, Mick Cotton and Derek and Sue.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Nothing Much Happening

Due to enforced time of work courtesy of an arm injury, I have not been able to get out this weekend, and there is still a lot of work to do in the garden. Able to do a little bit of pottering but any heavy work is impossible at the moment.
Luckily the third Eastern Crowned Warbler in Cleveland was not needed, having seen the first, and we did not need the {very brief} Blackpoll Warbler up at Spurn either. The Rough Legged Buzzard influx has led to one bird in Hertfordshire at Braughing  being discovered by Mike Illett. Appears to be showing well at times-though it can be very elusive. Hope it sticks around for a bit though I may not be able to get there for another week at least.
Shutting up at night over the weekend, I have been hearing Redwings going over, and a very nice sight on the feeders today were two Coal Tits-always scarce visitors and I have never had two before. Other than that, its the usual suspects-House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Wood  Pigeons, Blue and Great Tits and a Robin.