Friday, 11 December 2015

Goldeneyes & Siskins @ Amwell!

Amwell Nature Reserve - 9th December 15

Weather: Clear blue skies. Very cold.

Bird Total: 43
Plus: Grey Squirrel; Rabbit.

It was a relatively quiet day at Amwell today. For once, the weather forecast was spot-on - clear skies for most of the day. It was actually quite warm in the sun but quite cold sitting in the Hides. I was having difficulty believing it was December and not September. Even more that Christmas was only a fortnight away.

My pal Barry was up for a visit today and we arrived just before 10. There was only one familiar face at the Watchpoint, when we arrived but more people turned up not long after.

There were the usual birds out on the lake, including 60+ Lapwing, but numbers across the board were noticeably down. We headed down to the Gladwin Hide, where we spotted 5 drake Goldeneyes, which were continually diving, but strangely no females. A redhead Smew had been seen here recently, but remained hidden, if it was still around at all.

After about 20 minutes we decided to take a walk through the Woodland, via a quick look from the Watchpoint again. A flock of Siskin had been seen on the Reserve for the last week or so and Barry was keen to see them. The Wood was very quiet, with hardly anything around, apart from a few passerines.

Walking over the bridge I spotted a few birds feeding on the catkins. As we got closer we were delighted to find them to be Siskins.

We took a quick look out over the Bittern Pool a couple of times today, but very few birds were about. The Hides had been repaired after the recent vandalism and so we entered the James Hide. Where we found Brian and Katy Kingfisher, who were both patiently waiting for the Kingfisher to appear.

There wasn't too much to be seen outside. The feeders were busy, with Tits and Finches coming and going and then several Reed Buntings paid a few visits. A Kingfisher eventually appeared, at the back of the lagoon, but never ventured too close. A Grey Heron had arrived earlier and was just edging closer to the Hide when it suddenly flew off.

Barry and I then took a walk down to the Dragonfly Trail entrance, where we found Goldfinches and Chaffinches on the feeders. There was also a lovely male Great Spotted Woodpecker, scaring everything off. Several Pheasants were cleaning up the spillage.

From here we headed to the White Hide, where we broke for lunch. Hot coffee! Unfortunately, the few birds that were on show stayed away. So we then found ourselves back in the James Hide, this time on our own.

With nothing else extra to be seen we walked back up to the Watchpoint, where one of the Lapwing had flown in, quite close. Barry was keen to head off not long after and I again found myself just missing the train home, having to again sit in a draughty train station for 30 minutes or so.

A quiet day but it was still good to be out and about. The weather turns poor for the next few days but hopefully will improve. 

'Tomorrow (noun) - a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.'