After getting snowed off work at lunchtime, I headed to College Lake this afternoon to see if the bad weather had pushed anything in. It was pretty quiet unfortunately, although 21 Snipe were active on the marsh and a couple of Lesser Redpoll were feeding in the reed filled ditch on the east side. One of these birds had a metal ring on the right leg but I couldn’t get a good enough photo to be able to read it.
It turned into a pleasant evening and with the reserve closing at 4pm I drove to Marsworth to see if the Bittern was showing again. Two Water Rail were showing well in the first section of flattened reeds with plenty of others calling. About 80 CORN BUNTINGS were perched in their usual pre-roost tree at the back but then these flew up and joined together with another flock and all landed in one of the trees on the causeway. Incredibly I counted at least 170 in this tree and was really pleased to see this sort of number locally again. They weren’t finished yet though as others were still arriving. After another few minutes the flock flew up and circled a few times before landing in the trees behind the reedbed on the south side. Although they were moving around a bit I was able to count an unbelievable 204 before they all dropped into the reeds to roost at 4.30pm. I later blew up a photo I’d taken and counted 205 in the shot! Hopefully this is a sign that Corn Buntings are doing better than we thought locally.
As the light faded, about 15mins later, a BITTERN flew out from the right hand patch of reeds, from near the cut channel, flew across the water to land in the reedbed on the far side. Unfortunately about a minute before Warren and Steve arrived.
In almost total darkness an EGYPTIAN GOOSE flew past in front of us, with the white wing patches being just about the only thing visible, and then flew up towards the north end.
Not a bad evening!