Saturday, 1 January 2011


A traditional New Year’s Day thrash through the valley yielded a meagre return of 85 species. Rather than delivering a load of more unusual birds, the recent cold weather appears to have prompted a mass exodus instead. With most pits still largely frozen duck numbers are very low. With a valley total of around 12 Smew, 8 Bitterns and 50 Goosander, numbers of these cold weather specialists are barely above average. Long-staying single Pink-footed Goose and Red-breasted Merganser, along with a couple of flocks of Waxwings, the bird of the winter, were about the highlights. Kingfisher, Chiffchaff, Snipe, Cetti’s Warbler and Little Egret remain distinctly difficult to find.

Holyfield Marsh: 2 Smew, 6 Goosander, Pink-footed Goose.
Cheshunt GP: 2 Bitterns, 2 Smew, 60 Siskin, 5 Water Rails.
Girling Res: 12 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Green Sandpiper, 5 Goosander, 21 Goldeneye, Tufted/Pochard hybrid.
Waltham Abbey: 5 Waxwing.
Rye Meads: Shelduck, Cetti’s Warbler, Bittern.
Amwell: 3 Smew, 2 Woodcock, Pintail, Little Egret.

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