A midday visit to Amwell Nature Reserve in Hertfordshire, between Ware and Stansted Abbotts was a worthwhile trip. Foggy and cold, with snow still on the ground meant I was expecting a good movement of birds, with specific winter visitors being observed.
This was indeed the case, with 2 smew, a pair of goosanders, a pair of pintail and 2 mandarins being observed. Over 5 snipe were feeding near the viewing point along with 8 moorhens. A study of Hardmead Lake through the scope gave distant views of 2 female goldeneyes, plenty of great crested grebes and tufted ducks, shoveler, pochard, mallard and cormorant all counted in excess of 30. 3 red crested pochard were on nearby Hollycross Lake along with a solitary female ruddy duck. In nearby trees over 30 siskins were first heard and then seen. Finally, a quick visit along the footpath to Tumbling Bay gave views of a single female goosander on the water with 50+ tufted duck and pochard.
A raptor was seen being mobbed by jackdaws; this turned out to be a harris hawk, an escaped local resident.
Finally, as the light began to fail the gull roost began to increase with lesser black backed, herring, common and black headed gulls numbering over 200.
Photos show the gulls on the ice, the pair of goosanders heading north, pintail pair and a couple of a cormorant that was clearly not well and probably had a broken wing.