Friday, 11 January 2013

A few good Herts year ticks (9th January)

I was kindly offered a lift by Francis Buckle and together with him, Bob and I, we set off for Bramfield in hope of Hawfinches.  Soon after arriving I wondered to the back of the churchyard and soon picked up on a bird sat in the neighbouring field rather distantly.  On first impressions it looked good for our target bird, chubby, robust and buffy brown on the belly but a closer look through the scope soon confirmed that it was infact a WAXWING!

Waxwing at Bramfield

Not a bad self-found but still a tiny bit disappointed that we hadn't yet seen Hawfinches.  We moved on to Amwell where we were immediately shown a BITTERN perched up in the reed bed opposite the viewing point.  Next, a short walk along the canal where we soon arrived at the next lake which provided us with rather good views of the long-staying 1st winter drake SCAUP.  The Smew eluded us as did the recently reported Lesser Spot but a second attempt at the Hawfinches raised my spirits a little.

1st winter drake Scaup

This time I really put the effort in and instead of hanging around the entrance with all the other observers I decided to check the adjacent fields, the tall trees in the back gardens as well as the churchyard itself. Very unfortunately those who stood around at the entrance were rewarded whilst I was frantically checking the fields and hedgrows as they were successful in seeing a single flyover Hawfinch which I regrettably missed (the only one at that site seen that day).  rather downcast, we left but not before a brief stop to see the c.200 Golden Plover in the nearby fields.  Once back in Dunstable, I decided to spend the rest of the dwindling light I had left at Marsworth.  I arrived a little late so missed the roosting Corn Buntings and no Bitterns mad an appearance but a hunting BARN OWL at the rear of the reservoir was a real treat to end the day on a good high.

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