Thursday, 15 January 2015

Kingfishers and Marsh Tits at Amwell.

Amwell Nature Reserve - 19th December 14

Weather: Sunny blue skies, slight cloud. Very cold wind.

Bird Total: 49
Plus: Konik Ponies.

It was yet another clear, fine, sunny day again today. Quite cold though, with a fierce breeze out in the open. But the unusually warm winter continued.

Benny the Buzzard didn't make an appearance today, but there was a Little Egret and a pair of Greylag Geese in the fields, on the train down.

On the trail up to the Reserve I could see the 4 Konik Ponies in the field adjacent, standing stock-still, in a very trance-like state. Still asleep, I guessed they must be teenagers!


There were only one or two people at the Watchpoint. Looking out I could see at least one Little Egret; a lone Wigeon, probably the injured one from last year; a Pied Wagtail flying over and plenty of Lapwing, which seemed to be permanently in flight, from some unseen predator.


I didn't spend too long here as I wanted to take advantage of the bright sunshine from the James Hide. Just in case the Kingfisher showed up. When I got there I found one other guy in the lower tier, in the best seat, by the feeders.


The feeders themselves were doing good business, with all the usual crowd, plus a visit or two from a Marsh Tit. A Buzzard could be seen in the distant sky over the treeline, while a Sparrowhawk flashed past, from right to left, scattering everything in its' wake. Then a Water Rail flew across the lagoon, quickly disappearing into the reeds.


Then, after about an hour of waiting, the Kingfisher finally flew in and landed on the nearest post, in the sunshine. A male, he let us take a few shots before deciding that there were no fish here worthy of him.

It looked like he wasn't going to return anytime soon, so I headed off down to the Dragonfly Trail. The cold wind picked up on the way and so I tightened my magic scarf around me.


I arrived and looked out over the trail. At first, there weren't too many birds on the feeders, but they eventually started to fly in. All the usual crowd came in, mainly Chaffinches, all of them struggling to land on the feeders. They fluttered their wings, tried to peck at a few seeds, then flew back to a branch. The spillage was soon gobbled up by around half-a-dozen Pheasants below.


Then I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker call out and, sure enough, high up on a tree, to my left, a female appeared. Down below, by the fence-line I could see a Song Thrush foraging.

This time I took a walk up to the little car park, by the main road. But all I could see was a Common Buzzard gliding the thermals. It was much to cold and windy to hang around here and so I headed back to the White Hide.

Unfortunately, there wasn't anything to report until I arrived back at the James Hide, where the Kingfisher turned up briefly, on a branch out to the right.


I took one last look out from the Watchpoint, seeing a female Goldeneye out to the right. Further out it looked like Gull City. There must have been around a thousand Gulls roosting out there, with more flying in all the time. And it was Lapwing Island out front with the 70 or so birds joined by a couple of dozen more.


I decided to head back at that point, as it was getting late. Plus I was getting really cold. But if I had stayed I would have met up with Ron, who later spotted and photographed a Bittern in the Bittern Pool.