I have not done much this month, apart from the Crag Martin twitch. Various things like the weather have stopped me getting out, so weekends have been a bit quiet, with birding largely confined to the garden.
Not a brilliant forecast this weekend, with rain and strong winds, but I was able to get down to Amwell for a couple of hours this morning. Initially it was lovely, a bit cold, but the sun was shining so it felt pleasant, but gradually the cloud built up and it went downhill, and by the time I got home it was a bit dull and chilly.
As its been over a month since my last visit, there have been a few changes. A lot of the reed and scrub in front of the viewpoint has been cleared, allowing views of the water's edge at last, and of course the water level has been raised quite a bit. Recent birds have included a few Caspian Gulls, a Yellow Legged Gull and a Bearded Tit-none of which were seen this morning. The Redpolls and Siskins are still around, usually heard flying over, and at least two Goldeneye are in for the winter, but with the mild weather wildfowl numbers are a bit low.
Phil was at the viewpoint when I got there and Bill arrived not long after. With the Sun shining, raptors were in the air, one or two Sparrowhawks driving over and flushing everything, four or more red Kites and lots of Buzzards. Having discussed the lack of winter wildfowl in the country in general,due to the warm autumn, it was a bit of a surprise when Phil picked up a red head Smew flying over the pit, and possibly dropping down at the southern end, and he followed this with four distant Parakeets over the woods.
Eventually I wandered down to Hollycross where the feeders are again up. On the way, a nice flock of Long Tailed Tits posed for the camera, as did a Goldcrest. A Marsh Tit was less obliging-stuck in a dense Hawthorn the twigs got in the way. Lots of Great and Blue Tits as well, plus a small flock of Redwing.
The walk back along the walkway behind the picnic area produced about a dozen Siskin, but little else.
The drive home was quite good, Buzzards and Kites over the Ware landfill site, and a few Kestrels staked out on the roadside.