Monday, 30 September 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 23rd September 13

Weather: Cloudy and overcast all day.

Birds Total: 43
Plus: Common Blue Damselfly; Common Darter, Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.
Plus: Large White, Small White Butterflies.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Hornet's Nest; various Spiders; Bees and Hoverflies.

It wasn't the greatest of visits at Amwell today, being very overcast and cloudy all day. But it was still nice to be out and about again. The forecast was for sunny skies today but they were incorrect again.

On the walk up to the Reserve I could see a few Lapwing flying over the lake and then I heard and saw a Jay in the adjacent field. From the viewing point I could see over 120 Lapwing; a lone Barnacle Goose was in amongst 10 or more Greylags; 4 GCGs; masses of BHGs; about half-a-dozen Starlings and all the usual wildfowl including Pochard and Wigeon. There were a couple of other guys around and we all saw about 20+ Snipe fly in, around the lake and land nearby. Another Jay could be seen over by the White Hide. The Lapwing were being put up every few minutes by something, reason unknown.

I moved down to the other viewpoint and from there I could see more and more BHGs flying in from the north. There must have been over 200 in total around the lake. There were several LBBGs; Herring Gulls and one GBBG amongst them. A Grey Heron could be seen on the far side of the lake. Then I heard a GSW call out and saw it fly onto the top of a tree just above the White Hide.

I moved on to the James Hide where there was absolutely nothing about other than the continual flow of BHGs. A Cetti's Warbler was calling out as was a Green Woodpecker. Moving on to the White Hide, via a quick look at the still resident Hornet's nest, I could see a Common Sandpiper; a Snipe; a pair of Little Grebes and more Wigeon. A lone Common Darter was seen on the trail on the way back.

After lunch I walked down to the twin lagoons. There was only a lone Migrant Hawker about. But then I heard the familiar sound of a Kingfisher and I saw it at the back of the lagoon flying off.

At the entrance to the Dragonfly Trail a Goldfinch flew over. There wasn't much about on the ponds, just a few Migrant Hawkers. It was still very overcast and made for poor photography opportunities. There were no Darters around but oddly there was a caterpillar on one of the reeds. It looked like a Small White. Out on the lake there was an adult GCG with a humbug, bleating away, begging for food.

On the trail down by the stream I spotted a Common Blue damselfly, then another but in its drab form. A Blackcap could be heard 'cheking' away, while a pack of LTTs chattered by. Another GSW was 'chiking' away before I saw it fly overhead. This will be my last visit as the trail closes 1st October.

Back near the ponds there were more Migrants about, with at least 3 pairs mating and one female ovipositing. I watched them all, fascinated by the scene. One pair parted with the female flying down to the water to oviposit while the male hovered above her, on guard duty. More single males flew in and buzzed each other and some of the mating pairs. I watched for about 30 minutes before moving on. Just before I left the trail I finally spotted a Common Darter, sunning itself on the wood.

Back at the bridge another Common Darter must have been feeling the cold as it sat still on the wooden walkway whilst I got very close and it allowed me to get some practice in with the macro lens. A 7-spot and a few Harlequin ladybirds also allowed me some valuable practice.

Arriving back at the viewing point I was just in time to witness about half-a-dozen Jackdaws chase a lone Lapwing. Then, straight after, a Jackdaw was chased by lots of BHGs. 5 Snipe could be seen feeding out in the open on one of the small ponds. Then 2 Chinook helicopters flew over putting everything up. That was my cue to head home. On the trail back I spotted what was probably the same Jay I had seen coming in.

As I say, not the greatest of visits but it beats working in the City.