Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Break

Four days off for Easter and the weather has been really great-thanks to the latest storm it was snowing briefly this morning and the strong winds of are only now subsiding.
Actually I ended up with five days off, due to an unplanned Thursday in. I got home on Wednesday to discover a leak in one of the pipes near the boiler. Had to shut the water off at the main. We are covered for maintenance, so I phoned for an emergency plumber. He rang over three hours later to say he had only just received the job, was in London and wouldn't be able to get to us. Thursday morning I rang, was told we would be treated as high priority and someone would be along in the morning. I rang again at 1215, and was promised a visit by 2, rang again at 2.30 and  we finally got someone at 3.40. So nearly 24 hours without water and we were high priority! Its partly fixed but they are coming back to replace a section of pipe.
So Good Friday arrived and it was a nice sunny morning, clear blue sky and needing to chill out I went to Amwell. William was there having turned up very early hoping to connect with the previous evening's roosting Sand Martins. They must have gone at first light unfortunately. In fact apart from the three Redshanks, things were very quiet with very little movement. The rather strong at times cold northerly probably had something to do with it, and the clear blue skies didn't help. Apparently the water levels are being kept a bit higher than usual for breeding ducks, but as a result there is hardly any muddy edges for passage waders and the islands are very small. About the only other birds of note were the Buzzards everywhere, with maybe 15 on view at times.
William and I decided to go for a walk as it was rather nice and warm out of the wind. We had one or two singing Chiffchaff on the walkway but nothing else. A Brimstone or Tortoiseshell would have been nice. Blackthorn is already flowering in one or two spots, and one of the Hawthorns is in leaf.
Phil is away so the Hollycross feeders have been neglected-William filled  them but all we had were a few tits coming down.
We met up with Bill at the viewpoint but apart from a build up of Common and Herring Gulls it was pretty much the same so we all decided to call it a day.
Saturday and Sunday was a bit indifferent with showers, rain and wind. National bird news seemed to  be a bit slow-reasonable numbers of early migrants but nothing to justify a day out, so I spent the drier periods working in the garden. More Martins have been reported at Amwell, as well as the first Swallows, and the masochists who went there this morning in the gales were eventually rewarded with an Osprey. I preferred to stay in with a bottle or two.

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