Monday, 10 June 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 10th June 13

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day. Quite cold.

Birds seen:
Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Greylag Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Wigeon; Shoveler; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Pochard; Hobby; Pheasant (H); Moorhen; Coot; Oystercatcher; Little Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Redshank; Black-headed Gull; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Common Tern; Woodpigeon; Stock Dove; Swift; Kingfisher (H); Great Spotted Woodpecker; Green Woodpecker (H); Grey Wagtail; Pied Wagtail; Wren; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Reed Warbler; Whitethroat; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jay; Carrion Crow; House Sparrow (H); Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Reed Bunting.
Total: 51

Plus: Konic Ponies; Rabbit.
Plus: Azure Damselfly.
Plus: Soldier Beetle; Scorpion Fly; Common Spotted, Early Purple, Southern Marsh Orchids.

Please don't tell me that last week was our summer. Today was back to being overcast, cloud and cold again. Which in turn kept all the insects; butterflies; dragons and damsels hidden. The only things I saw all day were a couple of Azure damselflies; a few Soldier Beetles and a Scorpion Fly. There weren't too many people about today either.

The day had started well enough, on the trail upto the Reserve. A Narrowboat flushed an Oystercatcher up and away; a Jay flew past; a Blackcap was singing and I counted upto 37 Canada Geese on the canal. There were also a few LTTs in the trees and I could already hear some Redshank out on the lake.

When I reached the Viewing Point I found the usual crowd ensconced and one of them kindly pointed out a Hobby perched in a tree over the lake. The Redshank were still calling, three of them flying around the lake almost continuously. I spotted a fourth busy feeding, not seeming too interested in what was going on with the others. There were also 2 LRPs on the mudflats, later joined by 2 others. Reed Warblers were flying in and out of the reeds, some balancing precariously on top of them. I heard, then spotted, Reed Buntings doing almost the same thing. There were at least 4 Lapwing plus 2 chicks; a couple of Little Egrets and at least 4 Common Terns. A couple of Shovelers were swimming around by the island, together with the requisite Tufties; Gadwall and Pochard. I also counted upto 18 Greylag Geese and a further 26 Canada Geese. There were at least 2 pairs of GCGs at the far end of the lake. The lone male Wigeon was visible early on. 20-plus Swift were busy flying and feeding overhead.

Moving on to the James Hide I spotted at least 10 LTTs on the trail, busily feeding amongst the branches. A Pheasant was screeching out his call to the right of the Hide. There was a Grey Heron standing on the little island preening while a pair of Great Tits were the only birds visible on the feeders. More Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings were in and around the adjacent reedbeds. Another Little Egret was seen flying from right to left in the distance. Then what looked like a Chiffchaff flew into the trees beside the Hide, then flew straight off. Then a male GSW also flew in to the same tree, took one look at me and flew off. Must be the new aftershave.

There was nothing to see on the way to the White Hide. And from the Hide I immediately spotted a Redshank making its way towards me. An LRP was also quite near. A family of Greylags with young were off to the left. A couple of Pied Wagtails then flew in and fed for a few minutes before flying off again. But then unfortunately a Lapwing scared off the Redshank. This proved repetitive for the whole time I was at the Hide. Then I thought I saw the Pied Wagtails again but they proved to be Grey Wagtails. 25 more Canada Geese noisily flew in and landed on the lake. Then I witnessed the LRPs mate for a few minutes. The male began by standing behind the female and then started kicking his feet up against her tail before jumping up on to her back. Another Redshank flew back on to the island and fed, getting nearer before the Lapwing flew over and again scared it off.

The action continued with a Little Egret flying in and landing just in front of the Hide, giving some great, close-up views. It hung around for at least 25 minutes in the area before flying off. Both Grey Wagtails were then scared off by one of the Pied Wagtails and flew over to the mudflats in front of the Hide. It was all happening! The Canada Geese that had landed earlier then flew off en masse, wings flapping, all looking like B52s. Then 2 Hobbys gave me a great aerial display as they flew round and round the big island, catching prey in the air.

After lunch I moved off towards the Dragonfly Trail, but I wasn't too hopeful of seeing anything because of the poor weather. Before I got there a Whitethroat was seen singing on top of one of the trees. When I got to the trail I was right about the dragons and damsels. I didn't see any dragons and only a few Azures. But I did hear a Green Woodpecker in the distance. And whilst trying to photograph a Damsel I heard a Kingfisher a couple of times.

As it was still cold and there didn't seem to be much else about I decided to head back to the Viewing Point and then head home. At the VP the Hobbys were still displaying, as were the Redshanks. I then got a phone call from the guy I was at Rye Meads with last week - he was currently sitting in the White Hide! He let me know that the Kingfishers fledged at RM yesterday. Only about 5 days late!