Monday, 13 February 2017

Smew at Amwell

3rd February 2017

Having suffered a cough and cold for a week it was time to venture into the great outdoors to get some fresh air and exercise, so where better than my local reserve at Amwell. I was walking down the lane towards the viewpoint when I could see an ivy-covered tree shaking, with obviously a large bird or mammal inside.

It wasn't long before a Grey Squirrel emerged triumphant with a great sprig of nest material and proceeded to run up a tree. I couldn't see any obvious drey, but then after a bit of pushing and tugging it disappeared with the bedding into an old woodpecker hole. I knew that they did use of holes for nests, but this is the first time that I have ever witnessed it. And then, after it had arranged the bedding, it appeared at, what can only be described as a snug fit hole, to see what I was up to.

Fairly quiet at the viewpoint with just the usual suspects including a small flock of Wigeon and Lapwing on one of the islands. It doesn't take much to spook the Lapwings which provides some good in-flight opportunities.

On my way to Tumbling Bay now to look for the two red-head Smews, but by the Lee Navigation there were two reminders that Spring is just round the corner with a couple of sparring Coot and a Great Spotted Woodpecker prospecting a nest hole.

I soon found the red-heads some way up Tumbling Bay but they were very flighty and soon flew towards the southern end of the pit, but no sign when I got back there. As luck would have it they had flown down to the sheltered part of the lake next to the lock which is the narrowest part of the pit and therefore the best chance of some photos.

Even here they were quite jumpy, even when I was standing still, but it did provide me with a great flight sequence. Bye bye cold.

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