Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Sorry, what's your name again?

Amwell Nature Reserve - 2nd February 15

Weather: Sunny with slight cloud. Very cold.

Bird Total: 46
Plus: Grey Squirrel; Konik Pony; Muntjac.

After an unsuccessful hunt for the Hawfinch at Bramfield, I was dropped off at Amwell by friend and fellow birder, Ron aka Amwell Watcher just after lunchtime and proceeded straight to the Watchpoint.

Looking out over the lake I could see a lone female Goldeneye, fishing just in front of the White Hide. There were quite a lot of Shoveler and Teal, all swimming around right in front of the Watchpoint. A Little Egret was perched up, in amongst plenty of Cormorants on the main island.

There were one or two other people present, one a familiar face. There was a slight wind whilst standing there, so I decided to pop down to the Gladwin Hide. On the way down I could see another female Goldeneye out in the middle of the lake plus a drake Smew at the back.

From the Hide itself I eventually spotted 3 Smew and 3 Goldeneye plus several Great Crested Grebes.

From here I headed off to walk through the woodland, seeing all the usual birds, including several Goldfinch and Siskin. Before I got there I met up with Jenny Sherwen, the Reserve Warden, who was busy looking after the Konik Ponies.

A quick stop at the Bittern Pool, no Bittern but another familiar face, fellow Birder and Blogger Seymour Birdies. I hung around for about 10 minutes, seeing only a lone Snipe in one of the reed-cuts. Then I found myself sat in the James Hide with yet another familiar face. I really must try to remember their names!

Over the course of the next hour or two I spotted a fly-by Kingfisher, which unfortunately didn't stay for a photograph; a pair of Marsh Tits, who did; a lone Treecreeper, who was too quick for a photograph and a couple of Buzzards, one of which was being mobbed by a pair of Carrion Crows. A lone female Muntjac was feeding on the far side, by the trail leading to the White Hide. Ah yes, lunch!

Time was getting on so I walked back to the Watchpoint. A few people already there told me that the Barn Owl was already out and about, so I hung around for it. After about 10 minutes it turned up and proceeded to give a very good flying display around the area. It was mainly flying around the White Hide area and then flew around the James Hide area. Had I stayed in the James or walked around to the White Hide, like last time, I would have managed a few photos. Unfortunately, I made the wrong choice and stayed at the Watchpoint. But at least it gave a good view, quartering the area.

More people turned up, pretty much ignoring the Owl and looking for Yellow-legged Gull or even a Caspian. In the event one of them spotted the Yellow-leg. The guy who spotted it was, in fact, the legendary Barry Reed, about whom I had heard about, but had never met.

It was getting dark and even colder so I headed off.

'There are three things I always forget. Names, faces and...something else.'

For more of my photos please visit my Flickr site.