Sunday, 21 October 2012

Amwell Assortment

It was a pleasant sunny morning so I thought I would have a wander up the lane at Amwell. The Lee Navigation towpath was very quiet so I popped into the James Hide in case the Kingfisher decided to oblige. No such luck there, but a Reed Bunting was carefully manoeuvring towards the feeders and allowed a couple of shots before he jumped on to the feeder itself (I absolutely refuse to photograph birds on feeders). Even at this time of year the black head is already starting to show through indicating that this is a male.

Next stop is the Bittern Pool with the compulsory scan along the reed margins hoping for a Bittern to be showing albeit for perhaps just a few seconds. Once again no luck but a Grey Heron flapped lazily across the pool in search of a new feeding ground. To the left of the pool a female Chaffinch was sitting on the outside of a sallow, making the most of the warm autumn sun.

The lane itself was fairly quiet so time to visit Tumbling Bay, where a lone Coot was having breakfast out on the water and a male Robin was proclaiming his territory from the top of a bush.

Next stop was the bridge over the old River Lea. Under the old Bailey Bridge left over from the gravel working days there used to be a lump of concrete on the side of the bank where, with the aid of a telescope you could often see Otter droppings called spraints. Unfortunately, during heavy rain a couple of years ago the river flooded and the concrete was washed away. It has been replaced by a log but doesn't seem to attract Otters in the same way.

The only sign of wildlife here was a rather old male Common Darter which was enjoying the warmth of the wooden handrail. This late in the year the only two dragonflies still flying are the Migrant Hawker and the Common Darter. These will continue to fly until the first hard frosts and, in recent years, Common Darters have been recorded egg-laying as late as November.

Just as I was about to leave a I could hear the "weeooo" call of a Siskin and a couple of birds appeared over the trees and landed right overhead in clear view. A little high up but a great way to end the day.

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