Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 27th August 13

Weather: Cloudy early on, sunny, blue skies later. Slight breeze.

Birds Total: 41
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Red-eyed Damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter Dragonflies.
Plus: Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Painted Lady, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies. Mother of Pearl Moth.
Plus: 18-spot Ladybird; Hornet's Nest; Short-winged Conehead; Ruby-tailed Wasp; Long-jawed Orb and Cross Spiders; Bees and Hoverflies.

It was a bit cloudy early on, with a cool breeze and I was thinking that I should have brought a fleece with me. But it soon brightened up when the sun came out and I was glad I hadn't.

I arrived at the viewpoint a little earlier than normal and found a fair few people already there. I recognised some familiar faces and got chatting to them. There were quite a few birds out on the lake but nothing really out of the ordinary. Although that, in itself, is important if you are keeping a list of sightings. Continued, regular, visits to the same places over a period of time is of great importance to highlight the habits of our flora and fauna. Personally, I just hope that it highlights the parlous state of our wildlife and that someone, somewhere and somehow they get the protection they need. So I continue to visit my local sites and continue to document them.

Actually, I dread to think what future generations will think of the current one. As my mother used to say, better to have been born now than later. They probably won't see half as much as we can now, so I guess I'm lucky to have my time now.

I'd better get off my soapbox and tell you of my day. From the viewpoint, over the period of about an hour or so, I spotted a Hobby perched on a telegraph pole across the lake; 80+ Lapwing were being put up every few minutes; a Great-crested Grebe; lots of Canadas flying in, akin to Bomber Command; a lone Greylag; a Buzzard flying the thermals; a Little Egret flew in and landed in amongst the reeds in front of the viewpoint; Pochard, Shoveler and Teal were in and around all the BHGs and Coots.

Just in front of me, on the Buddleia, there were suddenly lots of butterflies appearing. Mainly Small Torts, the most I've ever seen but the star was a lone Painted Lady which also appeared, the first one I've seen this year. Mother-of-Pearl moths were around as was a lone 18-spot Ladybird which look as if they are having a poor year.

Small Tortoiseshell
Painted Lady
Then a HMWT van slowly drove by with the words 'Safety first at all times' on the side of the door. It amused me to see the driver on his mobile phone.

I eventually moved off down the track, heading towards the Dragonfly Trail. Just as I started I spotted a Migrant Hawker perched up, begging to be photographed. Then I found myself on LTT highway, as they flew past, one by one, all calling to each other.

Migrant Hawker
At the twin lakes I spotted a couple of Common Blue damselflies, oddly absent from Rye Meads which is only just down the road. And I was just bemoaning the fact that there weren't any more Red-eyed damsels when I spotted one sat on one of the lilly-pads. There being nothing else around, other than Coots on the ponds, I moved off to the bridge.

A Buzzard circled around and above me. I must have looked like his next meal. What time's lunch? At the bridge I searched in vain for any Banded Demoiselles. There were a few butterflies on the nearby buddleia and I could hear Blackcap and Grey Heron.

Lords and Ladies!
Just after I entered the Dragonfly Trail I immediately spotted a Kestrel sat on one of the nearby telegraph poles. I tried to get close for a photo but it was having none of it and flew off.

Another Migrant Hawker
At the start of the walkway I spotted a male Ruddy Darter, a male Common Darter and a pair of mating Common Darters. Soon, they were all joined by numerous Migrant Hawkers, one of which perched up only a few feet from me. Whilst photographing these guys I spotted what later turned out to be a Ruby-tailed Wasp and a Short-winged Conehead. Although I'm not certain about the ID of the Conehead. I also witnessed a male Common Damselfly get captured by a spider.

Short-winged Conehead?
An unfortunate end for a Common Blue.
Looking out over the lake the GCG nest seen on earlier visits had yielded up at least one chick, with one of the parents in attendance. Other birds on the lake were the usual Coots and a few Tufties and Pochard. At the last pond I found another couple of male Ruddy Darters and a female Common Darter, all of which kindly posed for me.

Ruddy Darter
Female Common Darter
Just before I crossed the bridge towards the river I sat down on a bench to take a quick drink. I headed off, leaving behind my bag. Finding nothing of note around the river area I arrived back at the bench to find the bag still there. My stomach was grateful for my luck.

It was very hot around now and said stomach was complaining so I headed back and sat in the James Hide. Not too much around here but there was a Chiffchaff and a Sedge Warbler about. A GSW was tempted in to the feeder but saw me and thought better of it. The Hornet's nest was still present when I was heading towards the White Hide. Looks like they have decided to stay for a while. The only thing to report from the White Hide was the sight of one of 3 Grey Herons catch and eat a large fish. I also watched the cattle coppice the reeds.

Coppice work in action
Not much else to report after that, I headed back to the viewpoint, met up with Jenny Sherwen, the new Reserve Officer and had a quick chat with some of the guys still around, before heading home.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Rye Meads - 26th August 13

Weather: Mix of sun and cloud. Very hot.

Birds Total: 38
Plus: Comma, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Large White, Peacock, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies.
Plus: Blue-tailed damselfly. Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Rudd; Water Buffalo with one calf; Water Vole; various Bees, Hoverflies, Spiders and Wasps.

It's official. Today the summer became a two-bottle day. I had to break in a 3rd bottle of sunscreen. I can't remember the last time I used up two bottles in one summer.

It was again another gloriously warm, sunny day. Although the weather forecasters got it slightly wrong. The clouds were supposed to disappear after 10am but they hung around all day. Though there was also a refreshingly cool breeze too.

Today was a Bank Holiday and I was expecting a lot more people to be around. I was right, there were 3 or 4 times the normal number. But it was warm and sunny, so I had to be out and about. The rest of the week is also forecast to be warm and sunny.

Today was also all about the hunt for the Water Vole. Quite a few had been reported in recent days and I was eager to try and see a few myself. I had seen a couple on a recent trip to Rainham Marsh and I wanted to try and photograph them here too.

I headed straight for the walkway where they had been seen and waited. Fortunately I only had to wait about 5 minutes before the first one showed itself, rustling the reeds. Then another one appeared. But neither were very good views, they were partly hidden by the reeds. Then, on the other side of the walkway, I could hear another munching away. He too was partly hidden but then he moved out into the open, still munching. A further Vole also appeared further out. I'd only been here 10 minutes and I was in Vole Heaven.

Plenty of people came by, some talking loudly. They saw me with a finger to my lips and quietened down. Edging closer to me, I pointed out where the Voles were. The next thing I heard were Ooo's and Ahh's. From the visitors, not the Voles. We were all royally entertained by the small troupe of Water Voles for the next 30 minutes or so. People were also looking through the viewing gap to try to if there were any more. It must have looked like a gurning competition to the Voles!

Finally feeling all Voled out I moved on to the Draper Hide. On the way I spotted a Lesser Marsh Grasshopper; a couple of Blue-tailed Damselflies; a Blackcap; 3 Pheasants; 3 Little Egrets; 2 Lapwing and a Grey Heron. It was quite a good start to the day.

There wasn't too much to see from the Hide however. There were probably more people in the Hide than there were birds outside it. At times it was standing room only. The best on show were Little Grebe; male Shoveler in eclipse and a Green Sandpiper. I was only in there for about 10 minutes, making way for others.

On the trail there were plenty of butterflies about including a male Common Blue, Comma and lots of Speckled Woods. Plenty of Dragons too, mainly Migrant Hawkers. But again there were no other damselflies seen for the rest of the day. Further on I could hear lots of Starlings but couldn't see them. Then I spotted them high up on one of the pylons. Their superb iridescence reflecting the sun.

I eventually arrived at the twin Hides. There being nothing much to report from the Gadwall I concentrated on the Tern. And I was rewarded with views of a Greenshank; a pair of Green Sandpipers; 3 Common Terns; another Grey Heron; a Sparrowhawk flying right to left in front of the Hide plus lots Gadwall and Coot; Shoveler; Teal and Wigeon. Just exiting the Hide I heard, then saw, a pair of Sedge Warblers.

It was in the Tern Hide that a couple of visitors were making the most of their visit. They had brought a veritable feast with them, including a bottle of bubbly with associated glasses! It made my cheese sandwich and orange juice seem a bit mundane.

I then spent about 40 minutes in the Kingfisher Hide. Unfortunately, although a KF had been seen just after 10 they weren't seen again until the end of the day. This could be bad news. It was generally agreed last week that the 3rd brood eggs had hatched but on today's evidence it looks like a failure to launch. Early days yet but predators of either the brood or one of the parents seems likely. One of the RSPB volunteers that was also present had photos of diseased Stickleback that could also have been a cause. That would be very disappointing. I'll keep an eye on reports.

Whilst I was in the busy Hide I spotted another Sparrowhawk fly-past, just as I was eating lunch. I made a mental note to try and make a more adventurous lunch next time. Greenfinches and Blackcaps were the only birds around, apart from the resident Coots and Gadwall. Dragons were also around, Common Darters, Migrant Hawkers and a female Brown Hawker ovipositing right in front of the Hide.

On the trail down to the Warbler Hide there was plenty of Lepidoptera and Odonata action, some of which gave a few poses. But most didn't. The Warbler Hide area didn't yield very much, other than a Grey Heron and lots of Wood Pigeons. The odd Little Egret flew up in the distance.

The walk back, via the same Hides, provided similar action but with the addition of an early instar Shield Bug. Back at the Draper Hide there was again the same fare but with an appearance of a pair of Green Sandpipers and yet another Grey Heron. I could also hear lots of splashing but couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from. After a few minutes a Mute Swan with 5 Cygnets appeared just in front of the Hide. It was the Swans having a noisy meal.

I ended the day as I started it, photographing the Water Voles. And again pointing them out to various people walking past. All were delighted. Looking out over the Meadow I spotted the usual Water Buffalo but this time with a calf which had just been born overnight.

Lots of good weather; lots of people; lots of fun.

For more of my photos please visit my FLICKR page.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Rye Meads - 21st August 13

Weather: Mainly blue skies and sun with some cloud. Very warm.

Birds Total: 40
Plus: Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies. Mother of Pearl, Silver Y and one other Moth?
Plus: Blue-tailed damselfly. Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter dragonflies.
Plus: Rabbit; Rudd; Water Buffalo; various Bees, Hoverflies, Spiders and Wasps.

Well, Rye Meads came up trumps again today. I went down to see if I could spot the Greenshank that had been reported over the last several days. And when I arrived at the Tern Hide, where it had been seen from, sure enough, there it was.

Earlier, I had arrived at the Visitor Centre amidst a flurry of activity. I wasn't the first one to turn up and so I had to virtually fight my way through. No one there knew if the Greenshank was still around so I took a slow walk upto the first Hide, the Draper. On the way I visited the 2 little ponds to see what was about, absolutely nothing, and the walkway to see if there were any Water Voles were about. Again, nothing. But the blackberries were quite abundant today, looking delicious.

Though today did bring a bit more activity on the Passerine front, with plenty of Blue and Great Tits flitting around the nearby trees. My first sighting of a Robin in ages; a lone Sedge Warbler outside the Kingfisher Hide and hearing Blackcap and Cetti's Warbler.

The Tern Hide was easily the best Hide of the day today. Not only was the Greenshank still present but there were also 6 Green Sandpipers; 20+ Lapwing; 2 Little Egret; 2 Grey Heron; 3 Common Tern including a juvenile; Wigeon; Shoveler and Teal and even 3 Snipe. A Green Woodpecker could be heard as well. Although the Greenshank seemed to have been chased off by Lapwing after about an hour, as I didn't see it from then on.

The big surprise was seeing only 2 Blue-tailed damselflies, right at the end of the visit. There weren't even any Common Blues about today. Plenty of Dragons though, mainly Migrant Hawkers but there were also a pair of mating Ruddy Darters seen. Lots of butterfly action today too, Small Copper and Common Blue being the stars. Also several moths were seen, including one unidentified.

Plenty of visitors as well, mainly women, some with accompanying children. Grandparents bringing grandchildren out for the day and the odd volunteer.

There must have been a couple of hundred Coot today; a dozen or more Mute Swan; Canadas in some number; lots of Little Grebes; several Cormorants but, surprisingly, only a couple of BHGs. And from the Kingfisher Hide it looked like the KFs 3rd brood must have hatched, at least today, as the parents were seen flying straight into the nest-hole with fish for about 20 minutes and then flying straight out and away. The Grey Heron that had been fishing underneath the camera on my last visit was again there.

The weather was again warm and sunny today, as forecast but with not as much cloud as in recent days. And the good weather is forecast to continue for some time to come. Bring it on!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Amwell Nature Reserve - 19th August 13

Weather: Mix of sun and cloud. Mainly cloud.

Birds Total: 34
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue Damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Southern Dragonflies.
Plus: Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies. Silver Y Moth.
Plus: 7-spot and Harlequin Ladybirds; Dark Bush Cricket; Hornet's Nest; Long-jawed Orb Spider; Various Bees; Hoverflies and Spiders.

It was time for another visit to Amwell. Although I wasn't sure what weather I was going to get. For the last 4 or 5 days the forecast for today was for sunny skies. Then last night, abruptly, they changed their forecast to sunny skies in the morning and clouds in the afternoon. Well, it turned out to be a little cloudy in the morning, becoming overcast before midday. At least it was still warm. My Granddad's knees were better at forecasting the weather!

I had intended to get there a little early today, so as to take advantage of the 'predicted' good weather, but I remembered that the train connections would make me wait for upto 30 minutes or more. The earliest train that gave me the best connection was the 8.48, so I arrived at the Reserve around 9.30-ish.

A few people were already there, including a few familiar faces. One of which mentioned that there wasn't much about today. I don't know about anyone else but I just enjoy going out for the day, regardless of what I see. There may not have been much about but it's much better than working in an office. I should know, I worked in an office for over 35 years.

Anyway, on the way up I spotted a pair of Migrant Hawkers, one of which landed whilst the other hovered in front of me. From the Viewing Point, there were numerous Coot, must have been over a 100; 50+ Lapwing; 55+ Greylag Geese; 65+ Canada Geese; a Common Sandpiper; a Great Crested Grebe feeding a juvenile; 1 LBBG; 3 Pochard and a fair few Cormorants. I spent about 30 minutes here before deciding to walk straight to the Dragonfly Trail, again trying to take advantage of the sunny weather.

On the way I stopped off at the usual places, the twin lakes for Red-eyed Damsels - none were found; and the bridge for any Banded Demoiselles. There were none there either. But I did see 1 Red Admiral; 1 Silver Y Moth and 1 Migrant Hawker.

On the Trail itself I initially saw a Small Tortoiseshell; a couple of Green-veined Whites; lots of Peacocks, mainly feeding on the buddleia and I also heard a couple of Green Woodpeckers and a Blackcap. When I got to the ponds I scared off a Grey Heron that had been stalking the Perch. I immediately started looking for the Emerald damsels I had seen on my last visit, but it proved to be fruitless. There were plenty of Common Blues and a few Blue-tailed. There were a sprinkling of Migrant Hawkers and Brown Hawkers and then the Common Darters started appearing, mainly on the wooden walkway, some mating and ovipositing, nearly all allowing me photo opportunities. A Chiffchaff was singing out its soft 'hueet' in the nearby trees. Spiders and Crickets were also quite visible today.

Lots of similar stuff were found along the river, including lots more butterflies and ladybirds, Harlequins among them. A Jay squawked somewhere in the nearby Woods. I walked back to the Ponds and hung around for another 30 minutes before taking a break for lunch on a nearby bench by Hollycross Lake. Out on the lake 2 GCGs were still sitting on a nest, while a Grey Heron flew across. Then, just as I had taken a bite out of my sandwich, I spotted a Ruddy Darter land nearby. It gave me the run-around for a minute or two before settling for a couple of shots. They are always nice to see, even more redder than their cousins, the Common Darter.

After lunch I moved back to the James Hide, mainly for a sit down than anything else. On the way there I saw quite a few Silver Y Moths on various buddleia, the most I've ever seen in one place. There being nothing from the James I moved down the trail to the White Hide. The recently reported Hornet's nest was found on the way, in one of the dead tree trunks and I nearly stirred it up by getting too close, so I backed off. Lots of them were flying in and out of the nest, all around me and I managed to get a few poor shots. I
moved on a bit quick though!

From the White Hide the same birds could be seen plus the male Wigeon, which was now eclipsing; a second Common Sandpiper flew in onto one of the little islands. Amongst all the Canadas I somehow managed to spot a single Barnacle Goose, asleep. Then 2 Little Egrets made an appearance, neither of which came close in. Out to my left a Hobby flew past. Then I witnessed lots of Dragon action, with about half-a-dozen of them flying around buzzing each other, like WWII fighter pilots. A few notable absences today were Common Terns; Reed and Sedge Warblers, the first of the migrants to disappear? Passerines were also very quiet again today, a few heard but not seen. But the berries were starting to appear already, especially the blackberries. Hopefully this will bring them all back out.

There were a fair few people about the area, plenty coming and going, in and out of the Hides. Surprisingly there weren't too many dog-walkers; joggers or cyclists. That made a nice change.

The weather had clouded over completely by 3-ish so I decided to call it a day and headed home. I don't know about anyone else, but I had rather a good day.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

RSPB Rainham Marsh - 14th August 2013

Weather: Blue skies and sun early on, clouding over in the afternoon. Very hot with a cool breeze.

Birds Total: 40
Plus: Brown Argus, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White butterflies. Jersey Tiger, Silver Y moth. Cinnabar, ? caterpillars.
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Small Red-eyed damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Ruddy Darter dragonflies.
Plus: Grass Snake; Marsh Frog; Meadow Grasshopper; Water Vole.

It was time for another visit to Rainham in the company of my good friends Shane and Marianne, or S&M as I call them! It was forecast to be sunny and warm early on, with clouds threatening later in the afternoon. And so it proved. But it was very hot in the sun, accompanied by a mercifully cool breeze.

I met up with the guys at the Purfleet Hide. But before I got there I had seen a pair of Ring-necked Parakeets screech overhead and, just crossing the bridge towards the Hide, I spotted a Water Vole noisily munching away. It was in the shadow of the reeds but still gave a pretty good view. I texted Shane and both of them came out to have a look. After about 5 or 6 minutes it moved off under the bridge but then swam out across to the other bank, into the sunshine and proceeded to sit and eat right in front of us. We all happily snapped away at it, marvelling at how it just ignored us. There were Migrant and Brown Hawkers flying up and down the stream as well, plus the odd Darter.

After we had satiated our fill of Vole photos we went and sat in the Hide. Looking out to the Scrape we could see a pair of Greenshank; a Redshank; a Little Egret; a Snipe; a pair of Teal and about 3 or 4 Lapwing. Then a Linnet came and sat on one of the fence posts and surveyed the area. All in all, it was a pretty good start to the day.

We moved on down the trail, seeing lots of butterflies; dragonflies and the odd Reed Warbler or two, until we got to the Shooting Butt area. We were told earlier that if we were patient we would hear, and possibly see, some Bearded Tits, my namesakes! We had to wait nearly 10 minutes in the hot sun before we heard them. I had sat down on one of the benches but soon stood up again as it proved to be very hot! We spotted lots of birds flitting around the reeds but they were mainly Reed Warblers. All went quiet. Shane moved off down the trail to see if they had relocated while Marianne and I stayed put. Then we heard a rustle of reeds right beside the trail. Marianne saw a Weasel poke its nose out, spot us and move back into the reeds. We could still hear it but it never re-appeared, despite M's brilliant squeaky Weasel impersonation. Some people turned up, including Howard, one of the staff, to see if the Beardies were around. We could again hear them but then I spotted a juvenile Water Rail in the far pond, unfortunately too obscured by the tall reeds for a good photo. Then the Bearded Tits starting pinging again and a couple of them could be seen flying back and forth. It was a frenetic period of activity.

My Namesake!
Further on down the trail we came upon bushes of Buddleia, which should have been covered with butterflies. But there were only a couple of Whites, a lone Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock feeding. But then Marianne spotted a Jersey Tiger moth. We could only manage a couple of shots before it flew off. It was a first for all of us.

Jersey Tiger Moth

To be honest, the rest of the circuit didn't present anything else that we hadn't already seen other than a couple of Sparrowhawks high in the sky; a Whimbrel out in the river; the occasional flock of Starlings and the odd Swallow. But we were all enjoying the sunny day out and catching up on all the gossip - Shane had recently become a granddad. That explained the permanent smile on his face today.

We spotted more Water Voles which again gave us some great views; lots more butterflies, the star being a Brown Argus; there were a few Cinnabar caterpillars on the Ragwort; a Grass Snake giving a juvenile Moorhen the slip and the odd Cricket and Grasshopper.

Brown Argus
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar
Meadow Grasshopper, I think.
We broke for lunch where I had a very nice slice of carrot cake and a bacon sandwich before we headed back out to the Purfleet Hide. But again, before we got there we were amazed to see Ratty still munching away in the same place as before at the local Rainham Marsh's 'eat as much as you can' salad bar. After 4 hours or so of dining out it must have been close to bursting. Cue more photos.

'Ratty' getting bigger by the minute!
From the Hide we headed out down the trail until we got to the riverside path link and proceeded through the turnstile and walked along the trail adjacent to the river. This was where we spotted the Whimbrel. But not really a lot else.

One of the few Migrant Hawkers seen
Not sure what these were, anyone?
There were quite a few people about the Reserve, as to be expected in this sunny weather. But thankfully no dog-walkers. Well, other than on the public paths. The bird species total was well down on my last visit but today was more about quality than quantity.

All too soon our day had ended and Shane thankfully gave me a lift back to the station, where my train arrived on cue.

A top day out with great friends!

Marianne's Blog can be found HERE.
For more of my photos please visit my FLICKR page.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Rye Meads - 12th August 13

Weather: Mainly cloudy, some blue skies. Strong breeze.

Birds Total: 39
Plus: Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies. Mother-of-Pearl moth, Poplar Hawk Moth.
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue damselfly. Brown Hawker, Common Darter dragonflies.
Plus: Water Buffalo; Rabbit; Soldier Beetle; various Bees, Hoverflies and Wasps.

A weather forecast of mainly cloud with a slight possibility of rain made me decide to have a fairly quiet and easy day at RM. It was almost complete cloud cover today so not too many opportunities for photography.

I was expecting to have a quiet day, species-wise. But sometimes RM can surprise you. I had heard about the recent sightings of a female Garganey, most likely the same one that was present last year. I did see it, but only in the morning session. But I was very pleasantly surprised to see 4 Black-tailed Godwits in the same area, from the Tern Hide. It's been sometime since I saw a summer-plumaged Blackwit, so I was delighted to see these. Also seen in the same area were a pair of Little Egrets; a pair of Wigeon; Shoveler; Teal and over 90 Lapwing. At least 2 Green Sandpipers were around while over a dozen Common Terns were fishing and feeding young. I must have spent over 2 hours in this Hide over the 2 sessions. Just outside was my first sighting of the year of a Small Copper.

Earlier I had started at the Draper Hide where only about 30 birds were present in the area, including 1 Green Sandpiper and a couple of Common Terns. Nothing of note was seen from any of the other Hides, except for the Kingfisher Hide. I only spent about 30 minutes here but I did see both male and female Kingfishers, the male spending over 10 minutes on the far post. There was also a Wren's nest above the door of the Hide. A Grey Heron was opposite the Hide sitting underneath the camera.

The Blackwits may have been the star birds but the other star was a Poplar Hawk Moth which I found just outside the Gadwall Hide, the first one I've ever seen. More Mother-of-Pearl moths were seen as well.

There were a fair few other Birders about today plus lots of families. One of the best things about RM is the no-dog rule! A surprisingly good day after the last visit.