Sunday, 14 July 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 12th July 13

Weather: Cloudy and overcast for much of the morning. Sunny and very hot for the rest of the day.

Birds seen:
Great Crested Grebe; Cormorant; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Greylag Goose; Canada Goose; Mallard; Wigeon; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Pochard; Buzzard; Kestrel; Moorhen; Coot; Oystercatcher (H); Ringed Plover; Little Ringed Plover; Lapwing; Redshank; Black-headed Gull; Common Tern; Woodpigeon; Collared Dove; Swift; Kingfisher; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Green Woodpecker; Swallow; Grey Wagtail; Wren (H); Dunnock (H); Robin (H); Blackbird; Reed Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Blackcap; Chiffchaff; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Long-tailed Tit; Starling; Magpie; Carrion Crow; House Sparrow (H); Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Greenfinch (H); Reed Bunting. Total: 50

Plus: Grey Squirrel; Konic Ponies.
Plus: Azure, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Red-eyed Damselflies; Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker, Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser Dragonflies.
Plus: Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood Butterflies.
Plus: Bombardier Beetle; Longhorn Beetle; Spotted Crane Fly; Various Bees; Hoverflies; Spiders and Wasps.

Another hot day, another day at Amwell. Well, it was eventually hot - the day started cloudy and overcast, but by lunchtime the sun had burned through.

A shortish day out today as well, from 11 until 4.30. It's been a long, hot week at the office.

On the trail down to the Reserve I heard a pair of Oystercatchers and a Greenfinch. A couple of Common Terns were fishing the canal and this time there were only 4 or 5 Canadas swimming around.

At the viewing point we had 10 Little Egret; 30+ Lapwing; 3 LRPs; 1 Ringed Plover; 1 Redshank; 8 Grey Herons; 3 Swallows; 2 GCGs; the lone Wigeon; 12 or so Greylags; a Goldfinch and a few Reed Buntings.

Just before I got to the James Hide I spotted 3 female Blackcaps, 2 of which were juveniles. At the Hide 3 Magpies and a Grey Squirrel were feasting on the feeders. Juvenile Great and Blue Tits plus Chaffinches were waiting their turn. Reed Buntings were flying in and out. Moorhens and Coots were swimming around the pond. A Green Woodpecker and a Chiffchaff could be heard singing. A Grey Heron flew in and started preening, later joined by another one. A territorial dispute saw both fly off. On the feeders the Squirrel kept chasing off the Magpies. A Tufted Duck flew in and was immediately chased off by a Coot.

I moved off down the trail to the White Hide. On the way I saw 1 Tortoiseshell, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Speckled Wood. There were actually quite a few butterflies around today. Sedge Warblers and LTTs were quite vocal around this area, with the latter showing quite well.

When I arrived at the Hide I found 3 Swallows flying in and out through the open windows. They had made a nest and were busy bringing in mud to finish it off. Outside there were now 15 Egrets; Lapwing were showing off their aerial display skills; 2 Grey Wagtails were out front, trying to catch one of half-a-dozen Large White butterflies that were congregating together on a mudflat. Then most of the birds suddenly flew off. I checked the skies for any predators but the perpetrators were 4 cattle which had moved into the area, forcing everything to move off. That was my cue to move on.

I arrived at the twin lakes looking for dragons and damsels. All the damsels were around, including the Red-eyes. The damsels were also out in force today, lots of Blues about. A Brown Hawker was circling one of the lakes until it was chased off by an Emperor. More Emperors were around but strangely none of the Four-spotted Chasers which were about from the last visit.

I quickly checked the bridge for the Demoiselles and found 2 males basking in the hot sun. A Reed Warbler was moving through the foliage. On the track to the Dragonfly Trail I saw a Buzzard high in the sky while a lone Common Tern flew over.

On the ponds in the Trail all the usual damsels were about again. More Emperors and a Four-spotted Chaser were around and, while watching them, I heard, then saw, a Kingfisher fly over the lake. My walk down to the river to search for more Demoiselles again proved fruitless. There were a few insects about, notably a lone Longhorn Beetle. The midges, flies and thunderbugs were really irritating today. But on the plus side there was hardly any pollen.

A Kestrel flew over and I flushed out 3 Green Woodpeckers while I made my way back to the Trail. Back at the bridge 2 more Demoiselles had appeared plus a Comma. And back at the twin lakes I had close-up views of a Four-spotted Chaser and a Black-tailed Skimmer. Out on one of the lakes a GCG was swimming around.

The only thing of note from my second visit to the James Hide was the appearance of a GSW on the feeder. While back at the viewing point a second Redshank had appeared.

There weren't too many people about today, not even many dog-walkers but there were a few familiar faces about. Another very nice day out in the sunshine. Long may it continue.