I woke on Sunday morning feeling rather better than expected after the Northumberland trip. It was rather dull, and a bit colder than expected but i decided to go down to Amwell sit has been over two months since my last visit.
The Stevenage murk was left behind as I drove south and as I reached Ware the Sun was starting to pop out from time to time. I was a bit worried as I pulled into Amwell lane and pulled over to park-the car started to slide. The lane was coated with ice and as I gingerly got out I saw Bill Last in the distance getting out of his car, and a passing cyclist hit the deck.
Despite a couple of warmish days, the Navigation was pretty well sold and ice floes had trapped the boats. Hardmead lake was also largely frozen with only about 20% free, most of that being in front of the view point. Watching Pheasants wandering about on the ice 30 yards for land was a bit different.
Wildfowl numbers were a bit reduced as expected, with a few Goldeneye, normal numbers of Pochard and Tufties but few Mallard and Gadwall. No Teal at all, but big flocks of Wigeon were coming and going. A few Canada and Greylag Geese were joined by two Egyptians. The Sunday regulars had seen a Water Rail, but none appeared while I was there but one nice did fly out of the reeds. There have been a few Golden Plovers dropping in (rather unusual an they tend to be distant flyovers) but none joined the small Lapwing flock on the ice.
John Bartlett appeared some time after Trevor and the gang had gone for a walk so we had the usual chat, showed him the images on the back of my camera and discussed the other rarities. Some time later Bill got a call from Trevor and we all headed down to the Bittern pool where they had found a Bittern perched up on the reeds. Not the typical views, it was often obscured but occasionally clambered up to the top, did a bit of preening, and sky pointing with the bill, and performed pretty well. Moments after another group arrived it decided to fly off over to Hollycross.
I decided to call it a day then, and had a quick still through the woods where the only birds were a fairly small flock of Siskins and a couple of Robins. Luckily the ice had cleared from the road and I had a pleasant drive home picking up a few roadside Buzzards on the way.