SATURDAY 15 JANUARY
The mild weather did not extend into the weekend with another Atlantic depression bringing strong and pretty cold westerly winds. It remained dry though but very overcast and grey.
I had several target birds in mind today - Tree Sparrow, Hawfinch, Mealy Redpoll, Smew, Grey Partridge - but failed on virtually all counts....
TYTTENHANGER GP (HERTS)
Despite a well-stocked feeder, I could find no sight nor sound of any Tree Sparrows....
The main pit held Cormorant, 8 Mute Swans, 31 Teal, 8 Pochard, 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 30+ Common Gulls and the maize strip and feeders, Song Thrush, 11 Blue Tits, 3 Reed Buntings, 4 Yellowhammers and 3 Chaffinches.
AMWELL NATURE RESERVE (HERTS)
A few birders about including Jan Hein and Alan Reynolds but little in the way of new birds. As it was my first visit to the site of the year I was pleased to see 4 EGYPTIAN GEESE, the 3 female RED-CRESTED POCHARDS and 5 SMEWS..
The roll-call was as follows -:
Little Grebe (1)
Great Crested Grebe (4)
Sinensis Cormorant (16)
Mute Swan (15 - including 2 on the canal)
*EGYPTIAN GEESE (4 on island)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (1 first-winter drake)
Tufted Duck (52)
RED-CRESTED POCHARD (3 females on Hollycross Lake)
Common Goldeneye (9 present including 3 adult drakes)
**SMEW (5 present including two gorgeous adult drakes)
Common Snipe (3+)
Common Buzzard (2)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1)
SANDON AREA (HERTS)
Spent ages scouring the lanes for Grey Partridge but no joy - no Merlin either - but 75 Brown Hares, 170 Fieldfares and 55 Linnets in cereal crops at Crouch Hill, 4 RED KITES together and 2 Common Buzzards.
STANBOROUGH LAKES (HERTS)
A total of 9 LITTLE EGRETS roosted