Saturday, 9 April 2016

Amwell Migrants

I spent this morning at Amwell. Woke up to rain, which eased off for a bit but it started up again as I left and took a while before its eased off, and for the rest of the morning we had warm sunny spells alternating with cool cloudy spells.
I arrived at nine, and found Tony Wileman and William at the viewpoint. Both had been there for some time and looked rather damp. A quick scan was not inspiring-the water levels are still far too high though now that Barry is back the sluice has been attended to and some muddy edges are  starting to appear. My first Swallow appeared soon after I arrived-small numbers were moving through all morning. Apparently I missed a large flock of Sand Martins and was told they would be at Tumbling Bay along with a Willow Warbler, so once they had left I headed that way.
Picked up a singing Sedge Warbler somewhere near the James hide, a couple of Cetti's and there were Chiffchaffs everywhere. The Willow Warbler was near the lock in birches which also contained Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits, at least one pair of Blackcaps and some Dunnocks. The Willow was singing at the top of a birch and was a bit too high for a decent photo. Unfortunately there was not a great deal on Tumbling Bay itself so I returned and went to the Hollycross feeders.
Very little here as well, some tits and Greenfinches were on the feeders plus the usual Pheasants. Great and Green Woodpeckers were heard here. It would have been nice to get the Marsh Tit as well but it has been rather hard to locate this year. On the way back a rather tame Coot on the towpath posed for a few images.

Barry and Bill were at the viewpoint. More hirundines were going through, mainly Swallows but I eventually got some Sand and House Martins. On the island, the regular Oystercatcher pair had appeared, joining the four Redshanks. Two Snipe were also around (having managed to survive the Sparrowhawk) and of course Lapwing are always here. Pretty good wader selection for the day, and it got better when some guys called out the incoming Black Tailed Godwit. Unfortunately it did not linger, spending about ten minutes before flying south and dropping in at Rye Meads.

Once it warmed up a bit raptors started to appear-2-4 Kites, many Buzzards, at least 3 Sparrowhawks and two Kestrels. Warblers were more evident with another two Willow Warblers singing, and there were a lot of Blackcaps as well. Just to add to the fun three Egyptian geese dropped in before I left, giving me a day list of 58, and I missed quite a bit as well.
Shortly after I got home, I popped out into the garden briefly and heard a distant singing Willow Warbler. Couldn't figure out quite where it was and after a few minutes it stopped.

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