Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 7th May 13

Weather: Warm and sunny with some cloud. Slight breeze.

Birds seen:
Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Greylag Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Wigeon; Shoveler; Gadwall; Teal; Tufted Duck; Pochard; Buzzard; Kestrel; Hobby; Pheasant; Moorhen; Coot; Oystercatcher; Little Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Redshank; Black-headed Gull; Lesser
Black-backed Gull; Common Tern; Woodpigeon; Cuckoo (H); Swift; Great Spotted Woodpecker (H); Green Woodpecker (H); Wren; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Cetti's Warbler; Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Garden Warbler; Whitethroat; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Goldcrest (H); Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Magpie; Carrion Crow; House Sparrow (H); Chaffinch; Reed Bunting.
Total: 53

Plus: Konic Ponies; Rabbits.
Plus: Orange Tip; Peacock butterflies; Large Red Damselfly.

Another very good day. And another warm, sunny day. And possibly the last good day for a while.

And another few more firsts again today. My first Cuckoo and Swift of the year and the first time I have witnessed a damselfly emerge from a larvae.

It all started as usual at the viewing point. Again there were a few familiar faces already in situ. On show were a Little Egret; an Oystercatcher on the nest; a Little Ringed Plover; a pair of Redshank; 5 Common Tern and at least 6 Buzzards high in the distant sky. There were about 4 Swift flying high to our left. I was there for about 20 minutes before I noticed the Little Egret fly over quite close to the White Hide.

I only debated about it for a few seconds before packing up and hurrying around to the Hide. I didn't stop on the way as there wasn't much to stop for, not that I noticed, and arrived at the Hide about 10 minutes later. There was no one in the Hide when I arrived and I was delighted to find that the Egret had not moved too far away and allowed me to fire off a couple of shots.

The usual suspects were around; the lone male Wigeon; a lone male Teal; Lapwing were displaying while the air was filled by lots of singing Warblers. The Cormorant tree was noisy with birds. A woman then came in and sat down. Then another couple of women came in. Then another one. I was alone with 4 women. It's been a while since I could say that!

Then a Redshank flew over from the island and starting to move close to the Hide. It was just starting to get really close when a Moorhen chased it away. So I settled in for a long wait. After about 20 minutes it started to get close again. This time it avoided the annoying Moorhen and I managed to snap off a few close ups.

I then headed off to the James Hide to see what was about. I immediately heard a buzzing behind me. When I looked around, above me there was a lone Wasp hovering around a little nest. The usual birds were on the feeders while the resident Canada Geese pair were still incubating their eggs. A Grey Heron flew in and fished quite close to the Hide. Reed and Sedge Warblers sang and flew in and out of the reeds. The resident Cetti's sounded off it raucous call every few minutes but remained elusive. Then 3 people came into the Hide, stayed for about 10 minutes then left. That was my cue for lunch.

Next up was a visit to the Dragonfly Trail. A Hobby was flying around, giving a great aerial display. My initial search for the first of the dragons and damsels proved fruitless. Then I heard a Cuckoo, then another. I waited to see if one of them would get nearer. At the same time I heard a GSW. A pair of GCGs swam quite close. And finally, a Song Thrush with a mouthful of worms hopped by. The Cuckoos didn't show so I headed back along the dragonfly path. That was where I spotted the Large Red larvae. Brilliant!

I then walked up towards Tumbling Bay lake to check on the pair of nesting GCGs. Both were around. A Kestrel was high in the sky, being mobbed by a Crow. A Green Woodie could be heard yaffling. On the return trip there were more Warblers about, all singing. I spotted Garden Warbler; Whitethroat and Blackcaps. And, of course, lots of singing Chiffchaffs. It being sunny and warm there were, or course, plenty of dog-walkers; cyclists and joggers.

Back at the James the Cetti's let me know that it was still about. But I did eventually manage to get a view of it, lowdown among the reeds. Male and female Reed Buntings flew around and a pair of Pheasants moved in to hoover up the spilt feeder seed. More Swifts, about a dozen or so, flew overhead. The Hobby was still hunting over the Reserve.

It was now getting on for 4.30 so I moved back to the viewing point. Another pair of Redshank had flown in; a second Oystercatcher was about; more Common Terns had appeared and a 2nd Little Egret was fishing. But the best was 2 more LRPs joining the first one, all flying around the island, giving some fantastic flight displays. Then one of the Redshank walked quite close, again giving some great views in the sunshine.

More familiar faces were congregating around the viewing area, making me think that something was due to arrive. But I decided to give whatever it was a miss and headed home.

Another wonderful day out.