A Winter High

High pressure has been sitting over Europe. Temperatures across the continent have plummeted and a week ago the UK joined the party. With daytime temperatures rarely above freezing and clear night skies bringing minus double figures, the two doses of snow have remained on the ground, giving a crisp white covering to the countryside.
Reports of winter visitors abound. A Great Grey Shrike visited Stevenage, Waxwings are on the move and even a White-tailed Eagle has been seen above the skies of Luton, heading north. My own sightings have added a few ticks to my year list, predominantly via a couple of visits to Great Amwell.
A day off on Monday meant I had the reserve virtually to myself (aside from the birds obviously). Spending a good deal of time in the White Hide paid dividends as I was entertained at close quarters by a pair of Snipe, as they probed the snow at the lake edge.

Shovelers were congregating in good number, a pair swimming below the hide and under the gaze of my lens.
Further out, a Great Crested Grebe fished below the surface. It will soon be looking to pair up and perform it’s courtship display.

Walking back, I dropped in on James Hide and for a few minutes was treated to some real close up views of gorgeous Reed Buntings and Long-tailed tits.

And so I ambled home through the snow after a beautifully peaceful day, broken only by a lovely conversation with a fellow watcher that furnished me with locations for spoonbills, cranes and merlins in East Anglia. A nice way to spend a day-off.
Day list: Jay, Great tit, Blue tit, Heron, Shoveler, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Snipe, Cormorant, Coot, Great crested Grebe, Long-tailed tit, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch

One Comment

  1. Lovely. The leaping/diving grebe especially. Snipe should be winnowing soon.

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