Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 3rd June 13

Weather: Warm and sunny, slight cloud and breeze.

Birds seen:
Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Greylag Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Wigeon; Shoveler; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Pochard; Buzzard; Kestrel; Hobby; Pheasant; Moorhen; Coot; Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Redshank; Snipe; Black-headed Gull; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Common Tern; Woodpigeon; Cuckoo (H); Swift; Kingfisher; Great Spotted Woodpecker (H); Green Woodpecker (H); Pied Wagtail; Wren; Dunnock; Robin; Blackbird; Cetti's Warbler (H); Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Treecreeper (H); Starling; Magpie; Jay; Carrion Crow; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Goldfinch (H); Reed Bunting.
Total: 56

Plus: Catfish; Grey Squirrel; Rabbit.
Plus: Comma; Green-veined White; Holly Blue; Orange Tip; Peacock; Small White; Speckled Wood butterflies
Plus: Azure Blue, Blue-tailed; Common Blue; Large Red; Red-eyed Damselflies; Broad-bodied, Hairy Dragonflies.
Plus: Cardinal and Soldier Beetles; Mayflies; Scorpion Fly; Common Spotted, Early Purple, Southern Marsh Orchids.

Mercifully there was not as much pollen today. I and my nose thank the Pollen Gods.

Although it was very warm there was a cool breeze blowing in from the lake. I spent more than ninety minutes watching from the viewpoint. There was plenty to see. A couple of Little Egrets; the male Wigeon; a lone Shoveler; a couple of Buzzards; a pair of Kestrels; at least 7 Hobbys, although more were seen by others; a Ringed Plover, hopping on one leg; 3 LRPs; lots of Lapwing; a pair of Redshank; a lone Snipe and lots of Common Terns. Plus lots of chicks everywhere, Greylags; Canadas; Mallards; Moorhens; Coots; BHGs and Lapwings.

There were also Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings flying through the reeds; Swifts, Spitfires of the skies, flying overhead and a Cuckoo singing away to our right.

On the walk down the trail to the Reserve I spotted a lone GCG, the only one of the day; a Blackcap and a Jay. So it was a good start to the day.

I took my leave of the viewpoint, leaving behind a large contingent of birders, some of whom I knew, some I didn't. One of them I knew from my Ethiopian trip of last November.

I made my way down to the James Hide. Partly to get my camera gear out and partly to escape the hot sun. There wasn't much to see from the Hide today, just a pair of Gadwall feeding. A few Warblers and Buntings flitted around and a Cetti's was heard. Only a pair of Great Tits were using the feeders. And a pair of Grey Squirrels.

Little Egret
I moved around to the White Hide, the first of two visits. Just after I arrived a Little Egret made an appearance. But the stars were a pair of Lapwing chicks, which came right up to the Hide, allowing great views and a few photos. The Redshank refused to make an appearance this time.

After a quick lunch I headed off to the Dragonfly Trail. And very successful it was too. Today I saw my first Broad-bodied and Hairy dragons of the year. The female Hairy was busy ovipositing. Lots of Damsels were about today too, including the first Red-eyed. There were still a few Mayflies left, still being caught by very probably the same Robin as last week, in the same area. I also spotted a large Catfish stalking some of the Damsels. A few more butterflies were about as well today, including the first sighting of a Speckled Wood. The Orchids were all in full bloom. Lots of Hoverflies, acting like Harrier Jump-Jets, tried to bar my way, checking me out. The only downers were still no Shield Bugs or Banded Demoiselles. But while I was looking for Demoiselles I heard, then saw, a Kingfisher fly past, along the river.

Hairy Dragonfly
Speckled Wood
There weren't too many people about today, not that I noticed. Other than plenty of dog-walkers. Four teenagers were in the White Hide, the first I've seen around the area for a while.

Broad-bodied Chaser
Large Red Damselflies
Other than all that Woodpeckers were in evidence, heard if not seen. A lone Pied Wagtail was also seen on one of the islands on Great Hardmead Lake. A Garden Warbler was seen on the trail between the two Hides. Also on the trail I spied a pair of Chiffchaff chicks being fed by a noisy adult. I also heard, but did not see, a few Treecreepers.

Greylag Goose
I didn't go down to Tumbling Bay Lake or to the Gladwin Hide. And, after about 7 hours at the office, I decided to head for home. The weather is forecast to be sunny and dry all week. So it could be busy!