Sunday, January 04, 2009


Went to Amwell first thing this morning. Freezing cold, and mainly ice-bound with just a few open spots all crammed with wildlife.

I thought I had a male Scaup, but something wasn’t quite right; mainly the bloke next to me saying that a hybrid had been seen in the area recently. It didn’t have that “Pochard in Tufted Clothing” appearance, and the head seemed to have an abruptness at the back of the crown. Further correspondence on the Herts Yahoo group suggested a Tufted/Pochard cross that had a Lesser Scaup appearance. That fitted, so not even a bit if Scaup in it. Just Scaupish.

I always feel slightly sick with envy walking round Amwell. Lots of really good habitat of all kinds. Over in the Stort Valley we don’t have anything like the range and variety of habitat, particularly the amount of open water. There was lots of quite good stuff. Numbers of dabbling duck, a Red-Crested Pochard, several Goldeneye, a Water Rail out in the open, a Stonechat, a Kingfisher, a party of Siskin, and even a Fox out on the ice. The site speciality - Smew - was missing.

But today Hatfield Forest Lake was the place to be for the diligent few (so not me); two Bewick’s Swans turned up. Photos are on the Stort Valley Wild site, and we await the results of the inquiry on the rings on the legs.

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