Trip reports

Lemsford Springs, Amwell & Rye Meads, Saturday 14th January

Lemsford Springs, Amwell & Rye Meads, Saturday 14th January
Ian Parker

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Lemsford Springs
We collected the key from the porch of the Wardens House next to the Reserve and walked to the first hide. Light was not good as robins and wrens sang either side of the path. Siskin fluttered high above whilst in the horse field several redwing fed with a mistle thrush, carrion crow and jackdaw. Goldfinch, blue tit, woodpigeon and magpie were in the trees

We reached the first Hide and several green sandpiper fed in the stream within a few yards of the hide. More joined them , a total of 5 in all, as did a grey wagtail and 6 moorhen. Four snipe were on the far bank behind some dabbling mallard, and a little egret alighted upstream. A common buzzard landed in a tall tree in the field opposite and a red kite glided by. We then had 10 minutes of some marvellous views of 2 water rail as they fed in the open beneath the island tree. A wren gave out some scolding calls just outside the hide. It was great to see John Thomson and Colin Thorne again and Lemsford Springs did not disappoint them with the sights of green sandpiper and the water rails.

We crossed over the bridge and overhead a parakeet, a jay, a great spotted woodpecker, fieldfare and a grey heron flew by

This is a most delightful reserve and well worth visiting throughout the year. Many thanks are due to the warden and Hert's and Middlesex Trust for all the work they do here.
We had seen 27 different species on the reserve which unfortunately did not include kingfisher (but this was rectified later in the day at Rye Meads) and then we left for Amwell.

We went to the viewpoint over Great Hardmead Lake and saw over 50 lapwings, 2 little egret and 50+shoveler on the island. Black headed, herring, and lesser black backed gulls flew around above wigeon, cormorant, coot and moorhen, gadwall ,2 mute swans and over a dozen tufted duck. A sparrowhawk shot by and briefly spooked the lapwings off the island whilst above the trees to the east 2 distant common buzzard circled before dropping out of sight. Three goldeneye, who seemed to spend most of the time underwater were finally spotted and a reed bunting alighted on the reed mace just in front of us. We decided we would eat our packed lunches in the hide adjacent to the car park at Rye Meads and so returned to our cars and saw fieldfare and song thrush in the trees by the side of the path as we left Amwell.

Rye Meads
There was little to see over the marsh from the hide as we ate our lunch. Just inside the reserve the usual suspects robin, chaffinch, blue, great and long tailed tits and dunnock fed at the feeders. There were surprisingly few birds on the lagoon in front of the Draper Hide apart from a green sandpiper a couple of pied wagtail and the usual coot, moorhen, teal, and mallard.

However the Tern Hide was much more interesting and the lagoon far busier. Canada goose, shoveler, tufted duck, wigeon, shelduck, cormorant, grey heron, a little grebe, yet more coot and moorhen and then on the far scrape a water pipit was identified.
Then to end the day we reached the Kingfisher Hide

After a short wait a female kingfisher showed beautifully in the afternoon sun. She posed, facing us for about 10 mins her orange breast glowing in the warm light before she turned and displayed her stunning irridescent blue back for a similar time - ,again catching the bright sun.

In total the group saw 60 species during the day . For additional images see the link below.

Many thanks to the drivers who drove to and from the reserves - we really did appreciate you taking us.

Alan Corner,

Jenny Thirlwell, Rose Allen, Alan Corner, Ian Parker, Dave Jones, Pam Litton , Anthea Lovatt, John Thompson, Colin Thorne, Mike Nott, Mike Bassett, Anthea Lovatt, Bob Feaviour.