After a bit of a break-I wasn't able to get out last weekend I was itching to get out today. The cold weather of the last few days has gone, and although it has warmed up a bit it is still a bit chilly out, though in the sunshine (when we get some) its not bad.
We had a decent sunrise, but during breakfast mist started to form and I wondered if it was worth going down to Amwell. I left anyway and by the time I got to Tonwell it was starting to clear and the sun was shining.
Parking up as usual, I was disappointed in not hearing the Nuthatch. Singing Song and Mistle Thrushes were heard along the lane, along with Robins, Tits and Blackbirds. No-one was at the viewpoint when I arrived, though Bill turned up a few minutes later. For some time the lighting was rather poor, overcast and mist over the water, but this gradually improved.
My first Snipe of the year flew down to the waters edge, and moments later the resident female Sparrowhawk flew down and took it. Luckily the next year tick lasted a bit longer. Bill picked up the pings of the female Bearded Tit that has been present for several months now (though hard to see) and we found it in one of the smaller patches of reed, and after a few minutes it flew out and into one of the bigger patches. Bill left to find Barry and I stuck it out at the viewpoint for a bit longer. The red-head Smew was a long way off at the bottom of the pit by the big island. I considered going down to the hide but the views wouldn't have been all that great.
I went over to the walkway hoping to pick up some of the woodland species. The big Chaffinch flock didn't have anything else, and there were only a couple of Golcrests around. The Siskin flock is still present, and I also found the first of several Treecreepers.
I found Phil at Hollycross filling up the feeders. We spent some time there, with Long Tail Tits, Goldfinches, Blue Tits Chaffinches and Pheasants being the only numerous birds. Single Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Greenfinch came down but we failed with Marsh Tit, Coal Tit and Redpolls. A couple of weeks ago Trevor and the rest of the Sunday regulars picked up a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker here, the first site record for a couple of years.
Back at the view point it was getting rather busy but nothing much had changed. With the Sun shining, it would have been nice if the Bittern (seen last night for only the second time this winter) might put in an appearance but it did bring out a few raptors including an overhead Buzzard.