Monday, 23 March 2015

Woodcock and Sand Martins

Following on from the rather disappointing eclipse on Friday, I took Mum up to see Sarah and Ed's new place. After the chaos of the move they have made a good start on sorting things out so we spent a bit of time looking over the garden. Constant visits by Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Robins plus a variety of tits were nice. Took molly for a walk in the fields just up the lane, with wildlife conservation edges, encountering Red Kite, Buzzard, Yellowhammer and Meadow Pipits. They have also seen Barn and Tawny Owl, Grey Partridge, Woodpeckers plus a few brown jobs.
Saturday was rather cloudy chilly, and I spent part of the morning working in the garden. Not much in the way of birds while I was out there, but the frogs are still very active in the pond. Noticed a few Pond Skaters-have not really been looking too closely recently.
Sunday morning was yet another visit to Amwell. Seemed to be very busy with most of the regulars putting in an appearance all hoping for a few migrants dropping in. Wheatear and Little Ring Plovers have turned up in the county, and Redshank and Oystercatcher have been seen at Amwell, but the rather cold northeasterly is still making things a bit unpleasant and seems to be holding things up. Still reasonable numbers of Shoveller and Teal, and at least one pair of Goldeneye remain. A Grey Wagtail was flying around for a bit, and a Pied Wagtail dropped in briefly. A mustelid seen by a few running under the bridge railings caused some discussion. I only got a very brief glimpse and it seemed a bit too small to be the regular Stoat, and one or two others thought it was a Weasel .
A few Redwings flew out over from the walkway as I made my way down to the Bittern Pool with one of the photographers. A yell from Trevor et al alerted us to a Woodcock which flew past in front of us and up towards the level crossing. Apparently flushed by a dog (?) near the Buddleja patch, it may be one that has been seen occasionally near the railway line.
Had a Bullfinch, some Long Tailed Tits and a rather tame Robin on the bridge, but there was very little to see on the Hollycross feeders.

Walked back with Richard Pople and Tony Hukin in the hope of picking up Treecreeper, Redpoll or Siskin before arriving at the viewpoint again. Everyone was looking intently south-six Sand Martins were at the south end of the lake. They stuck around for a while, with a few of them moving up to the north end. Bill picked up a very distant flock of Golden Plovers-Simon reckoned on around 400, which remained on view for some time just milling around in the sky.
Only heard two singing Chiffchaffs this morning, and there was no sign of the Blackcap I heard last week.

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