TUESDAY 7 JANUARY
Another day dominated by heavy rain, resulting in ever more flooding and sodden ground everywhere; drier interludes later and temperatures at around 9 degrees C.
More local birding today, concentrating mainly in Hertfordshire.......
Once the torrential downpours had ceased, I wandered down to BURNHAM BEECHES NNR (BUCKS) to photograph MANDARIN DUCKS, just 12 being present today (7 drakes). Also 18 mallard, 1 Moorhen, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, LESSER REDPOLL and some very confiding Carrion Crows, one partially albinistic.
My first Eurasian Sparrowhawk of the year dashed across the A412 near WEST HYDE where on LYNSTERS FIELD, the escaped Cackling Goose was still present with 70 Atlantic Canadas. At neighbouring STOCKERS LAKE, wandering the Colne on the northern flank failed to yield any of the wintering Chiffchaffs - just the Australian Black Swan still, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 6 Wrens of note.
Over at TYTTENHANGER, the TREE SPARROW population was holding up well, with 24 at one site and 8 at another, as well as 6 Reed Buntings, 2 Yellowhammers, 8 Red-legged Partridge, 5 Meadow Pipits, 10 Chaffinch, 8 House Sparrow, 4 BULLFINCH, 2 Common Blackbirds and 8+ Common Magpies.
The rest of the day was spent at GREAT HARDMEAD LAKE, AMWELL NR, where neither the Bittern or female Bearded Tit put in an appearance. Highlight was the juvenile drake SMEW, hiding beneath the undergrowth of the island opposite Gladwin Hide - one of only two birds seen in the county this January and one of the worst winters overall for the species.
Otherwise, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 28 Sinensis Cormorant, 7 Mute Swans, 26 Atlantic Canada Geese, 2 Greylag Geese, 15 Mallard, 66 Gadwall, 41 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 16 Shoveler, 22 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Goldeneye, 114 Coot, 82 Lapwing, Water Rail, 54 Great Black-backed Gulls (in roost), 2 Jay, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, 9 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Greenfinch and 5 Reed Bunting.