Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fishers Green, Cheshunt - 15th November, 2013

Weather: Clear, blue skies. Warm in the sun, cold in the shade.

Birds Total: 37
Plus: Red Admiral butterfly.
Plus: Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Muntjac; Grey Squirrel.

It's been good to very good visiting Fishers Green this year. There have been some great days out here and there has always been something to see. But, probably due to the time of year, today wasn't one of the best.

If you removed all the Coot; Ducks; Gulls; Geese and Swans then there would have been hardly anything out there today. Very few passerines about, in fact numbers were low across the board. If I had to guess then I would say that, due to the late seasons this year, movement within the UK has been quite late.

Today was cold but sunny while next week the forecast is for arctic temperatues with freezing winds coming down from the north. So we might get some movement south.

The journey down began oddly with my train time showing ontime but with an excuse below it, 'Due to points failure'. I idly wondered if BR were now making excuses for their trains being ontime. The recent rains had helped keep the many lakelets filled and these were being made use of by dozens and dozens of
Canada Geese, plus the odd Grey Heron fishing. I'd heard a GSW earlier whilst waiting for the train. Just before I arrived at Cheshunt I spotted a Grey Squirrel balancing precariously on a thin branch, stocking up for the winter. Grey Squirrels are not one for hibernating. In fact, there are only 3 mammals in the UK that do hibernate. Answers on a postcard, please!

I did my usual circuit, Hall Marsh Scrape - Bittern Hide - Grebe Hide and back again. There were plenty of people about, some other Birders; the usual dog walkers, one of which had 9 (nine) dogs with her(!), cyclists and joggers. In fact, 2 joggers asked me for directions as they were completely lost and had even forgotten the name of the car-park. Dressed only in shorts and t-shirts with no water and, more importantly, no map they looked very worried. I gave them my best directions.

Surprisingly there was hardly anything to be seen from the Teal Hide. At first there were only a pair of Moorhens, later joined by a third. Then they flushed out 3 Common Snipe. A couple of Carrion Crows flew in as did a lone BHG. A couple more BHGs flew in, thought better of it and flew straight on. Then a female Muntjac appeared out to the left, but only briefly. Way out to the right, way up high, I could see a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a Crow. At the back of the lagoon, in the reedbed, were about 3 or 4 Canada Geese. All this 'action' occurred over a 20 minute period. Then everything disappeared except for a lone
Magpie. Then it too, disappeared and I was left looking at just an empty scrape. Well, it wasn't even much of a scrape now, with the water level a lot higher than it was from my last visit. All down to the recent rains, I guess. Anyone for a hose-pipe ban?

I gave up here and moved on down the trail. I had a quick look out over Friday Lake, seeing Wigeon; Shoveler; Tufted Duck and Pochard. There was hardly anything to be seen out on the other lakes and, at the Bridge, I could see a few Coot; Swans; a few GCGs and a Grey Heron. At the Hooks Marsh car-park
feeding area there were plenty of Mutes patiently waiting for people to feed them, together with one Greylag and a pair of Canadas.

I eventually arrived at the Bittern Hide. Out on Seventy Acres Lake there were the usual Mutes and Coots, lots of water-birds and about half-a-dozen Lapwing. There were only a few Blues and Greats on the feeders. But I did see a Hawker dragonfly flying over the pond. I couldn't positively ID it but it was
probably a Migrant.

On the trail down to the Grebe Hide instinct made me check a couple of the fishing areas by the relief channel. And, on one of them, I found a Common Darter dragonfly! They are still hanging on!

Further on down the trail, on the pond opposite, I could see 4 Egyptian Geese, together with a couple of Teal. Further on from there I could see about 100 Canada Geese feeding on one of the fields. At the Weir there were the odd Pochard; a few Teal; a pair of Wigeon and a couple of GCGs. And, of course, lots more Mutes and Coots.

Just before I arrived at the Grebe Hide I spooked a butterfly up, which looked very like a Red Admiral. I could also hear a Treecreeper squeaking away.

There wasn't much more to be seen from the Hide either. More of the same but also another 5 GCGs and more Wigeon. LTTs could be heard around the Hide.

On the way back I could see over 50 Jackdaws over a field in the distance, all chacking away. A Little Grebe ducked under the water when it spotted me and there were now 6 Greylag Geese instead of the Egyptians.

The only other thing from the Bittern Hide was hearing the pig-like squeal of a Water Rail which remained irritatingly hidden. That and 3 Chaffinches joining the rest on the feeders.

And that was it. It was warm in the sunshine but quite cold in the shade. No wind fortunately. Next week looks like winter is arriving. I had better get out another layer to put on. Hopefully a few migrants will fly in.