Sunday, 29 March 2015

Smew in the rain at Amwell!

Amwell Nature Reserve - 3rd March 15

Weather: Sunny for most of the day, clouding over later. Cold wind. Passing shower.

Bird Total: 46

On today's visit I was accompanied by my good friend, Barry, who picked me up at Harlow station and drove us down to the Reserve. On the way we spotted 2 hovering Kestrels.

Safely avoiding the oncoming trains, we crossed the tracks and entered the Reserve. One or two people were already at the Watchpoint. We took our first look around, seeing about a dozen or more Lapwing, on the island; a few Grey Herons; several Great Crested Grebes and plenty of Shoveler. A Red Kite and around 5 or 6 Buzzards were high in the sky, above Easneye Wood. Just before we left a lone Shelduck flew over while a pair of Goldeneye also flew over and landed on the Lake.

From here we headed down to the Gladwin Hide, where we eventually spotted 4 male and 3 female Goldeneye; several pairs of GCGs; 2 Little Grebes; a little Wren to the right of the Hide and a lone, male Reed Bunting, singing atop a bush, out to our left.

On the return leg we bumped into Jenny Sherwen, the Reserve Warden for the area. She was busy with the Ponies.

After a cursory look from the Watchpoint, we walked through the Woods, seeing not a lot. Not much more was seen from the Bittern Pool, apart from a flyby Kingfisher and a few familiar faces.

We entered and sat down in the James Hide. Unfortunately, someone had already blagged the best seat in the house. There wasn't too much about, other than a lone Marsh Tit. Said seat didn't look like it would be vacated so we moved on.

We had earlier heard that a pair of Smew had been spotted on Tumbling Bay Lake, so we headed off to try our luck. After about 5 minutes of looking I could see what looked like the Drake at the far end of the Lake, so we headed off to try and get a little closer, to confirm it.

About 20 minutes later, we were stood standing by the Lake, looking out to where the Drake was. It was indeed the Smew, who had his consort with him. They both quickly spotted us too and moved back slightly, but still gave us some great views.

We had also seen another pair of Goldeneye here as well as two fleeting sights of a Kingfisher. Feeling suitably chuffed we headed back.

We decided to head towards the Dragonfly Trail entrance, where, on the way, by the Bridge, we spotted a male and 3 female Bullfinches. There was nothing to see once we got to the Trail.

We then found ourselves in the White Hide where we had lunch. The only addition from here was a number of Wigeon that must have arrived earlier.

We tried the James Hide again, but again another guy had blagged the best seat. Moving upstairs we eventually spotted the Marsh Tit again as well as a Common Snipe, which flew in to the reed cut. Then Ron aka Amwell Birder, arrived.

Back at the Watchpoint we spotted a BHG with a streamer tied to its' foot, surely hampering it.

It then looked as if it was going to rain, so we rushed down to the Gladwin Hide again, seeing pretty much the same thing.

The weather didn't look as if it would improve so we called it a day and headed home.

'There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships and may they always be.'