Sunday 20th December 2015

Our last day trip of the year with a later start than usual, as the area was relatively local enabling us to have a lay in! We arrived at the lovely RSPB reserve at Rye Meads at opening time and after a coffee, spent the morning wandering around. The feeders adjacent to the centre held the usual tits and finches and some of us went to the Draper Hide and saw GREEN SANDPIPER, FIELDFARES, REDWINGS and five COMMON SNIPE. A male BULLFINCH was spotted in the hedgerow but soon disappeared. The next hide was pretty quiet except for a fine WATER RAIL that swam across a reedy ditch.

As we moved to the next hides we found more GREEN SANDPIPERS plus SPARROWHAWK, GREEN WOODPECKER and a selection of gulls. Back near the centre we had brief sightings of a KINGFISHER and GREY WAGTAIL whilst several GOLDCREST showed well in the Ivy hedges.

It was back to the centre for lunch and whilst tucking in we found a male SPARROWHAWK perched on top of the nearest hide!

Afterwards we made the short journey to Amwell Nature Reserve. A scan from the watch-point produced several GOLDENEYE and a KINGFISHER flew past us. From the hides we had good views of probably the same KINGFISHER as before plus REED BUNTING, COMMON BUZZARD, KESTREL and lots of GREAT TITS.

The last hide of the day produced some excellent views of GADWALL, TEAL, WIGEON, SHOVELER and lots of gulls coming in to roost. Despite a good search we couldn’t find anything unusual amongst these.

On the walkway we located a flock of SISKIN feeding in the alders and we heard a MARSH TIT calling although this remained unseen.

With the light going, we returned to the van for a piece of cake before starting the journey home.