Saturday, 5 March 2016

Amwell-Its Been a while

Its the start of March, Spring is almost here and so far I have only been out four times this year, and visited Amwell once back in January-I try and get down most weekends for a few hours. With no obvious birds to go for nationally, and with commitments tomorrow I paid my second visit this morning.
I must admit it did not look good. We had a bit of a frost, there was a bit of sleet when I filled the feeders and snow arrived during breakfast, but I left anyway. Through Stevenage, the ice warning in the car came on-temeparture was zero, and the sleet and snow increased as I made my way down the A505, though it got a bit warmer and the snow turned to light rain.
The singing Nuthatch along the lane was a good start, as were several Song Thrush, singing tits Dunnocks and Chaffinches. There was no-one at the view point, not surprising as it was freezing and still wet. Barry was in the White Hide but I sought shelter in the Gladwyn Hide at the south end. There was no sign of the Smew here, and the only ducks here were some Tufted and a couple of pairs of Goldeneye-the males were starting to display.
Once the sleet eased off I went back up to the view point. Lots of Gulls, the Black Headed Gulls being numerous, and they were starting to claim the tern rafts. There were several Greater Black Baked and Lesser Black Backed, some Herring and Common Gulls as well. Did not see any others...
Most of the duck were here at the north end, mainly Shoveller, Mallard and Gadwall, and hardly any Teal.
After a while I made my way to Hollycross but never got there. Met William outside the gate to James Hide so stopped for a long chat. While enjoying a rather close Goldcrest we received messages, from Barry of two Caspian Gulls, and more importantly a Kittiwake, so we rushed back up to the viewpoint.
I found one of the Caspians on the raft in front of the island, but try as we might we couldn't find the Kittiwake. One Red Kite put in a brief appearance, and the female Sparrowhawk dropped down into the reeds, but surprisingly failed to catch a Snipe. Normally Wigeon are scarce during the day, but a flock of about 20 had flown in while was gone. Eventually Barry arrived with Bill and we were told it was only on view for a few minutes at 0910-just about the time I was enjoying the Nuthatch, and flew off. The Caspian did get a lot closer and posed for the cameras.

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