Thursday, 27 March 2014

Rye Meads - 24th March 14

Weather: Sunny, warm blue skies in the morning, overcast with a cold breeze in the afternoon.

Bird Total: 44
Plus: Fox; Grey Squirrel and Muntjac.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.

It's been a while since I visited RM, mainly because there hadn't been a lot happening there recently and also because there had been a lot happening elsewhere. But today I decided that a another visit was long overdue.

One of the disadvantages of RM is that it is only open between 10 and 5 but it does has the advantage of the absence of dog-walkers; cyclists and joggers.

Today was forecast for sunshine with some cloud. It started out sunny and warm but deteriorated in the afternoon, clouding over with a cold breeze. Still, I was able to at least shed my rain-proof jacket.

Nothing to report on the way down and nothing to report until I got to the walkway overlooking the HMWT meadow, where I could see a Grey Heron and a pair of Little Egrets, amongst a few Canada Geese; Shoveler and Coot. I could hear Cetti's Warblers; Chiffchaff and a Song Thrush all around me as I strolled down the trail. About half-a-dozen people passed me by, most of which seemed to be heading straight for the Kingfisher Hide.

But a few of them had stopped off at the Draper Hide. Just before I entered I spotted my first ladybird of the year, a 7-spot. A lot of work had been done on and around the lagoon area. The 'Scrape' area had been enlarged and a new Kingfisher sandbank had been created. Work is obviously ongoing but the area looks promising. Unfortunately, there weren't too many birds on show out on the lagoon. Other than the usual Coots and Mutes; Moorhen and Geese, I could see a pair of Lapwing; 2 pairs of Stock Doves, one pair using one of the Owl boxes; the resident pair of Little Grebes, swimming past the Hide every few minutes, uttering their characteristic 'whinnying' call; there were 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in amongst 30-odd Black-headed Gulls; several Teal and a few Shoveler. A Muntjac could be seen in the far corner feeding.

I moved on after 20 minutes and found a lone Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on the trail. And, on the new lagoon on my left, opposite the twin hides, I could see a pair of Redshank feeding. I visited the Gadwall Hide first and eventually saw a Buzzard fly over; a Kestrel hovering to my left; a lone Snipe in amongst the reeds out to the right, which was surrounded by several Teal and Shoveler; a lone Shelduck continuously dipping its' head down feeding and 5 Lapwing scattered around the area.

From the Tern Hide it was mostly BHG City and a noisy one at that, either on the Rafts or circling overhead, a few pairs of which were displaying their wings in courtship. A few Coot and Tufties were swimming around the outskirts, probably trying not to be too deafened. I couldn't stand the racket either and moved on down the trail towards the Kingfisher Hide. More Cetti's and Chiffchaffs could be heard singing away. Unfortunately, I didn't spot any all day.

When I arrived at the KF Hide I found about 5 or 6 other people already there, some with large lens and clutching remote controls, bending forward in anticipation. The female Kingfisher was already in view, sat on a branch just outside the nest area. Over the course of the next hour both Kingfishers put on a pretty good display, culminating in a couple of matings. Not to be outdone a pair of Mallards got together as well. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew in to a tree behind the Kingfisher bank and chased each other around the tree bark. Then a Kestrel flew in and landed on the higher box on the pylon. Out on the pond the resident pair of Coot were swimming around, occasionally pestering the Moorhens; Gadwall and Mallards. All this action had made me hungry and so I broke for lunch.

I then decided to take a walk down to the Warbler Hide. On the way down, high above me, I could see a Grey Heron being harassed a few BHGs. And, from the Hide, I could see a Buzzard being buzzed by a Crow. To my far right I could see probably the same pair of Little Egrets out on the meadow. Every few minutes a Lapwing would fly over and land in the meadow and, just before I left, another Grey Heron flew in from right to left and landed at the back.

With nothing else happening I walked back to the Kingfisher Hide and was again rewarded with some great KF action. At one stage the female was almost caught by a Grey Squirrel. Another GSW appeared briefly while another Muntjac was sat directly opposite lazing in the sunshine.

Time was getting on and it had started to cloud over. The cold breeze was also a deciding factor. So I walked back down the trail, stopping off at the twin hides. The only addition to the list here was a lone Starling. The Redshank were still in the same place and still feeding.

Back at the Draper the only additions were a pair of Pied Wagtails on the scrape and a Fox who was asleep out to the right. A pair of Gadwall and one of the Little Grebes gave me a close up view as they swam by, peering warily up at me every few seconds.

It was a nice day out in the sunshine, especially in the morning, but I probably won't visit again until the first Kingfisher brood are about to fledge, which will probably be in May.

To see more of my photos please visit my Flickr site.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Amwell Nature Reserve - 14th March 14

Weather: Foggy early on making way for warm sunshine.

Birds seen:Total: 50
Plus: Muntjac.
Plus: Tortoiseshell Butterfly.

Today I met up with a couple of friends, Tony and Shane.
Shane met me at the train station just before 9 and we made the short drive down to the Reserve. Tony arrived around an hour later because of traffic problems.

When we arrived at the main viewing point the fog was still present, with visibility down to around 30 meters. We hung around there for about 20 minutes before deciding to move on to the James Hide. But we did manage to see a lone Redshank; a Sparrowhawk; a Pheasant right in front of us and a Great Crested Grebe. Lapwing; Shoveler and Teal were also in evidence.

We arrived at the James Hide finding 2 other guys already in place who pointed out a pair of Kingfishers perched up at the back of the pond. They proceeded to entertain us for around 15 minutes before flying off. One of them came and perched up quite close to the Hide. At the same time a Sparrowhawk, possibly the same one as earlier, flew in and landed in the reed-bed channel and then hopped even closer. A Grey Heron also flew in and was keen to find out what the Sparrowhawk was hunting. The Sprawk was soon scared off as was the Heron when another Grey Heron flew over. Out on the pond a lone, juvenile Little Grebe was constantly dipping; a few Teal were around and then we heard, then spotted a Cetti's Warbler which eventually came as close as the feeders before flying off.

On the Feeders themselves were the usual gang - Reed Buntings galore; Tits and Finches with Dunnock and Robin joining in. In the distance a Green Woodpecker sounded off. Then Shane spotted a pair of Jay perched up on a tree at the back. A pair Little Egrets flew over, then a male Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in, debated whether to attack the peanut feeder, before flying off. I then witnessed a Great Tit catch and butcher a Bee. All this within the first 15 minutes!

Tony then rang to say that he had arrived and so we walked back up to the viewing point to meet him. With all this excitement I forgot to bring my bag with me and hurried back to retrieve it. Thankfully it was still there.

We quickly appraised Tony of what had happened so far - 'You should have been here earlier!' - and then pointed out the Redshank and Wigeon that could be seen. There were about half-a-dozen Lapwing and another pair of Little Egrets out on the island.

From here we walked down to the Gladwin Hide, to try and locate the Smew and Goldeneye. Unfortunately it looked as if the Smew had departed but we did see a male and 2 female Goldeneye. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were also present as were more Wigeon.

But I think we were eager to get back to the James Hide to see if the excitement would continue. On the way Shane spotted a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on the ground, allowing us a few photos.

The visit to the James didn't prove as exciting as earlier but we still managed to see Kingfisher; Sparrowhawk; Cetti's Warbler and Little Grebe.

Moving on down the trail towards the Dragonfly Trail area we managed to spot Buzzards and Little Egrets flying overhead. Sadly the feeders at the Trail were empty so we didn't spend too long down there and decided to head back and visit the White Hide. We did stop at the Bittern Pool but had no luck either time. But, just as we approached the gate leading to the White Hide, we did spot a pair of Bullfinches fly in and land on a nearby tree, giving some great views.

We passed a lady on the way who mentioned that a Bittern was seen. When we got to the Hide some other people were just leaving. Unfortunately the Bittern did not show itself. We broke for lunch. Outside on the Lake we saw, other than the usual fare, more Little Egrets, six in all; another Great Crested Grebe which swam up close and also heard the pig-like squeal of a Water Rail. Then the guys spotted a female Muntjac just outside the Hide.

With nothing much else happening we decided to head back to the James to try and get some photos of the Kingfishers. We had tried earlier but the fog had thwarted us. Only birds that were seen earlier appeared, sans Kingfisher. Shane decided to call it a day to try and avoid the traffic and bade us farewell.

Tony and I decided to head upstairs to try our luck and after about 10 minutes the Kingfisher duly flew in and perched up in the same place as before. Sadly it didn't fly in as close as earlier.

After an hour we decided to head back to the main viewing point to see if anything else had appeared. Tony then decided to head home. Unfortunately for him, a few minutes later I spotted a pair of Snipe in the reed-bed in front of the Hide, then the Redshank flew back in. A pair of Great Crested Grebes could be seen courting and nest-building to the right.

On the walk back to the station I spotted a pair of Starlings and a lone Collared Dove. All in all, a very good day out.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Fishers Green, Cheshunt - 12th March 14

Weather: Overcast early on, brightening up later. Very warm in the sun.

Birds Total: 47
Plus: Muntjac.
Plus: Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies; various Bees. Midges.

I don't like to tempt fate but today it really felt like Spring had arrived. Trees were budding; flowers were blooming; bees were buzzing and the first butterflies of the year appeared. It even felt that more birds were singing. The sun was out and it was warm, possibly the hottest day of the year so far. Although it was a little
overcast and cloudy first thing, the sun soon burnt it all away by mid-morning. I even had to take a few layers off as I was starting to break into a sweat.

My day started a little earlier than usual, arriving at the Teal Hide looking out over the Hall Marsh Scrape a little after 9. Before I had even sat down I could see Wigeon immediately in front of the Hide, so I carefully set up my gear to get a few close-up shots. I counted 19 of them again, they must really like this area. A pair of Canada Geese were even nearer to the Hide and were warily looking up at me. Further out I could see 2 Little Egrets, chasing each other; plenty of Shoveler; a few Teal; Mute Swans and Greylag Geese; loads and loads of BHGs and I could even hear a Song Thrush and a Green Woodpecker in the woods behind the lake. All were looking resplendent in their summer plumage.

There were a couple of Park Rangers out to the left, again busy with their buzz-saws. They were, in fact, doing me a favour as they had scared the birds my way. A lone Lapwing, the only one I saw all day, flew in amongst the Coot and Moorhens. A Little Grebe, probably the same one from last week, was out to the right this time, continually diving in between Mallard and Gadwall. A pair of Magpies flew in and hopped around the scrape.

The clouds were now starting to give way to the sun, a couple of guys walked in and told me of a Smew out on Friday Lake. So I decided to head off to try and find it. Just before I left a couple of Grey Herons flew in and a male Reed Bunting appeared on the bull-rushes out to the left. Above the howl of the buzz-saws I could also hear a Cetti's Warblers belting out its raucous call. It was accompanied by the very recognisable song of a Chiffchaff.

I failed to locate the Smew on Friday Lake so I continued on around the trail. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers appeared, 2 males, chasing each other, looking like a territorial dispute. This went on for about 10 minutes until one of them had had enough and flew off. A Shotgun was being fired off, regularly, somewhere in the distance, a local farmer trying to scare off the birds no doubt. There seemed to be a lot of dog-walkers on the trail today. I was hoping they would take their doggy-bags with them this time.

Out on Hooks Marsh Lake the first of many Great Crested Grebes made an appearance. I must have seen close to 20 today. A Greenfinch could be heard making its familiar wheezy call. I then stopped to look at a pair of Long-tailed Tits and just behind them a Redwing appeared. I witnessed another GCG make a successful fishing foray. I even managed to get a few photos. Behind me I could hear a Chiffchaff calling. More GCGs came into view further along the trail.

Another piece of evidence of the Spring offensive was the appearance of millions of Midges. I kept blindly walking into clouds of them along the trails, fortunately avoiding being bitten. Bitten? Bittern, who mentioned Bittern? Unfortunately, this year has been a poor year for Bittern for me. Unlike last year where I had felt like I had overdosed on them. I haven't seen one Bittern here this year and only 2 sightings at Amwell. Possibly because we had had a warm Winter, but probably because I have been unlucky. It just one of those things a Birder has to live with!

Along the relief channel a Grey Heron was busy stalking. And further out on the lake beyond I could see a drake Goosander, asleep, drifting lazily along the shoreline.

Approaching the feeding area, looking out over Seventy Acres Lake, dozens and dozens of Mute Swans and BHGs were awaiting their turn to gobble up all the bread that families were throwing out to them. Every time a little child threw a handful out it turned into a feeding frenzy, delighting all the children there.

Then I was delighted myself as I spotted my first butterfly of the year, a Peacock, flutter by. And when I arrived in the, empty, Bittern Hide I immediately spotted my second butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell.

Not too much was happening out on Seventy Acres Lake. Loads of BHGs were continually screaming out a cacophony of noise as they fought over the best nesting areas on the rafts. Mutes and Coots were abundant, as usual, everywhere. There were the usual suspects coming and going on the Feeders. A Dunnock was having a sun-bath. A female Mallard was asleep over the pond; a Cetti's appeared behind it and then a Buck Muntjac appeared in the right-hand reed channel. He was warily looking at me, deciding if it was worth going for the succulent looking green shoots near the Hide or to turn around and head off. In fact he did neither for about 10 minutes, just standing there. He eventually came closer, fed a little but decided it wasn't worth the risk and moved off into the reeds. Just after he left a Water Rail made a fleeting appearance.

Another Peacock butterfly settled onto a branch to the right while a Little Grebe was having a bath in the channel to the left. A male Tufted Duck floated by, oblivious to me.

I spent just over an hour here, vainly waiting to see if a Bittern would make an appearance. Not today, but a Kingfisher did appear, from left to right. I was hoping that it would settle on the big stick jutting out from the bank, just in front of the Hide, but it ignored it and flew on.

It was starting to get really warm now and so I decided to walk down to the Grebe Hide. Just before I got to the bridge, around the picnic area leading to the trail, I spotted my third butterfly, a lovely Brimstone, one of my favourites.

Another Muntjac appeared in the bushes to the left while I was walking along the relief channel, another butterfly flew by and another Chiffchaff could be heard singing. I stopped to remove my rain-proof jacket and my scarf. It was getting seriously hot. Any hotter and I will be forced to start using some sun-screen!

No Nothing!
Looking out to the right, over the channel, I could see another Redwing foraging on the ground. Woodpeckers could be heard drumming. On the same side, in the adjacent fields, I could see what was probably the same pair of Egyptian Geese as last week, amongst a couple of Greylag Geese. A little further on I spotted a pair of Shelduck by the lagoon. Another Grey Heron was again immitating a statue. A few Jackdaws flew over, heading for the Farm.

At Holyfield Weir a pair of GCGs were the only thing of note to be seen. Starlings could be seen nearby, a few Tufties and Coot and BHGs and Mutes were around as well but it was again eerily quiet. I noted the water levels were still quite high here.

From here to the Grebe Hide several more GCGs were seen. Lots of fishermen were about today, no doubt taking advantage of the good weather.

This Hide was also empty and so I settled in and scanned the area. Again Holyfield Lake was quite empty. I counted upto 6 more GCGs around. A juvenile Mute Swan was preening out to the right, standing on a dead log. It actually looked as if it was walking on water. More Tufties were around; a few Pochard and Coot; while Cormorants were flying back and forth, some with nesting material.

I only spent about 35 minutes here and, with nothing much happening, headed back. Just before I got back to the Weir I spotted a pair of Goosanders, which promptly flew off. Then, on the lagoon where the Shelduck were, I could see lots more Wigeon, busily feeding away.
Greater-crested Whirly Bird - a very noisy adult, in breeding plumage.
Up ahead, on the relief channel, I spotted probably the same pair of Goosanders floating along, occasionally diving under to feed. I slowly crept up on them, moving quickly when they dived and was rewarded with some really good close-up views. I managed to get off a few shots until a dog appeared from nowhere and scared the birds off. Argh!

I made it back to the Bittern Hide without further incident. The BHGs were even more noisier now, if that was possible. A few LBBGs had appeared and were causing chaos and confusion. A Water Rail appeared in front of the Hide again and this time gave me some really good views. A pair of Wrens were chasing each other under the Feeders while another pair of Muntjac appeared in between the trees out to the right. Another GCG appeared right in front of the Hide, again fishing, allowing me a few more photo opportunities, before it had had enough and departed for the day.

My departure also loomed and I started the long walk back. On the way I spotted another Redwing. Then I bumped into a familiar face looking out over the lake from the Bridge. He pointed out a Drake Smew in the distance, a great end to a great day.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fishers Green, Cheshunt - 4th March 14

Weather: Sunny blue skies in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon.

Birds Total: 48
Plus: Muntjac; Rabbit; White-tailed Bumble Bee.

It was another pretty good day today. The sun shone brightly and warmly in the morning but unfortunately clouded over somewhat in the afternoon. But it didn't detract from what turned out to be another pretty good day.

Not too much to report on the way down, other than a cock Pheasant and a Little Egret. But just as I arrived at the car park I was greeted by a Song Thrush belting out its tuneful song.

I had a quick look over Friday Lake but could only see a pair of Great Crested Grebes. As I was standing there looking out a pair of Canada Geese and 3 Mute Swans swam over looking to be fed. Sorry guys.

On to the Teal Hide where, initially, there wasn't too much to be seen. I counted 19 Wigeon this time with 5 Teal mixed in with them, most of whom were asleep. There were only 3 Lapwing to be seen, which were the only ones I saw all day. Other than that there were the usual array of Shoveler; a lone Mute; a few Greylags and Canadas; Gulls and Coots.

But then after about 10 minutes I spotted 3 Snipe which had been flushed out by Moorhens. Just after that I spotted a male Reed Bunting flying over and then saw a Little Grebe swim noisily in to view. A Lesser Black-backed Gull then flew in and was immediately mobbed by 3 Black-headed Gulls. It ignored them and perched on one of the wooden posts. But then I also spotted a Park Ranger way out to the left who had just started up his hedge trimmer. Cue exodus of birds. So I decided to head off as there wasn't much point in hanging around now.

I started my long walk around to the Bittern Hide. One thing I have always noticed around these Reserves is the preponderance of 'Doggy Bags', all neatly tied up onto branches, all in bright, colourful plastic bags. I've always wondered why dog owners go to all the trouble of clearing up after their pets and then, instead of depositing it all into the bins provided, simply tie them onto the nearest tree. Doh!

Out on the trail GCGs seemed to be very much in evidence, with one or two popping up every 100 meters or so. Then I heard my first Chiffchaff of the year calling. In fact I heard a second one later in the afternoon. Then I spotted a Cetti's Warbler, in the same place as my last visit, only this time a little nearer. It was still camera shy. I walked on, disturbing a Grey Heron, which flew off. Then I spotted a Muntjac in the same area as my last visit. This time he posed for a bit longer, even giving me a sideways disdainful look as he munched his breakfast down. Another GCG, again in the same area as last time. Deja-vu?

Unfortunately though, the hoped-for Smew weren't to be seen in the place I saw them last time. With the sun shining down I was starting to get a sweat on and had to loosen some clothing. Would this years Spring be better than last years? It couldn't be worse, could it?

Just before I reached the Hide 2 Long-tailed Tits flew by, twittering away. When I arrived in the Hide I found only one other guy. In fact, there weren't too many people about today. Other than dog-walkers. Probably with doggy bags.

He soon left, probably because there wasn't too much about. No Bittern and not even any Lapwing. Just all the usual suspects. I settled in for a long wait. After about 15 minutes a drake Goosander arrived to my right, along the relief channel. I saw it dive and surface with a huge fish. He soon vanished only to be replaced by a GCG, who also started fishing. Then a Jay flew in, spotted me and flew back out again. Then a female Muntjac appeared just over the pond. She spotted me but, just like her hubby, ignored me and started cropping the grasses. I was quite pleased, the first female for a long time not to turn her nose up at me!

Then 2 Water Rails appeared in the channels between the reeds, giving some pretty good views. As did a pair of Cetti's Warblers and a Wren. A male Reed Bunting then flew in and debated whether to join the birds already on the feeders.

After being entertained for about 90 minutes I decided to head down to the Grebe Hide to see what was about. By now the sun had gone in and was replaced by lots of clouds. The temperature had also gone down and I zipped back up.

The trail down to the Hide provided views of a White-tailed Bumble Bee; a pair of Egyptian Geese; a guy fast asleep on one of the wooden benches; 10 more Wigeon; loads of Jackdaws perched up on trees adjacent to the farm. The Weir was again practically empty except for Coot and Pochard. Moving on I spotted a large flock of Starlings flying over. And just before arriving at the Hide 5 more GCGs could be seen.

With no one in the Hide I settled in and took a quick scan. Again not much to be seen out there other than a few pairs of GCGs. Tufties and Pochard were swimming around with the odd Coot. A pair of Little Egrets could be seen in the far corner, again in the same place as last time. But not much else.

Over the course of the next hour about half-a-dozen Grey Herons flew in from right to left, one of which buzzed a pair of Pochard. A couple of people came and went. Unfortunately, they missed a pair of Kingfishers flying past.

On the return journey I heard a couple of LTTs quite close and with them I caught a fleeting glimpse of a Treecreeper. Sleeping man had disappeared.

Back at the Bittern Hide I was just in time to see another GCG quite close to the Hide fishing. It was finally successful and surfaced with its prize. Then I spotted a Redhead Smew out on Seventy Acres Lake. The Water Rails gave me some more good views as well.

Time was getting on and the sun had completely disappeared so I decided to head home. But the excitement didn't quite end there. Just after leaving the Hide I spotted a drake and another redhead Smew. They dived under and I took the opportunity to try and get closer. But when I got down to the waters edge both birds seemed to have vanished. Moving on I heard a GSW drumming and then a Green Woodpecker laugh out.

A pretty good day!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Amwell Nature Reserve - 26th February 14

Weather: Sunny, blue skies with slight cloud.

Birds Total: 50
Plus: Rabbit; Weasel.

I'm acutely aware that visiting the same Reserves on a regular basis may make most, if not all, my reports seem a little repetitive. But I'm trying to convey a sense of subtle change for each visit, throughout the seasons. For example, the first sighting of the year of a bird or mammal or insect. Or the last sighting. Comparisons from previous years may, or may not, indicate patterns or changes. Well, I find it interesting anyway. I hope you do too.

Today turned out to be the best visit of the year so far. It was another dry, sunny day with a slightly cool breeze.

So, nothing to report on the journey down and from the main viewing point, other than the usual birds, were around 20 Lapwing; 3 Greylag Geese; 10 Grey Herons; 3 Little Egrets; the sound of a Cetti's Warbler; 3 Buzzards; a Red Kite and a pair of Oystercatchers. The usual crowd were also present.

From here I wandered down to the Gladwin Hide. At first only a male Pochard was visible amongst all the Coot and BHGs. But after about 10 minutes I could hear the squeal of a Water Rail nearby; then 3 Goldeneyes flew in and landed in front of the Hide, a drake and 2 females; 7 more Greylags flew noisily in and splash-landed and then I spotted a Redhead Smew over by the far bank. A Reed Bunting sounded off and could be seen to the right of the Hide on one of the bull-rushes.

I was already enjoying the days' sightings. Over at the James Hide all the usual birds were busy on the feeders, lots of Reed Buntings; Greats and Blueys and a few LTTs; Robins; Dunnocks and Chaffies were all flying in and out. A Grey Heron landed in the channel between the reed beds and proceeded to fish. It eyed me warily and kept its' distance. Cetti's and Green Woodpecker could be heard. Another pair of Buzzard were screeching high in the sky.

Then I headed off down to the feeders by the entrance to the Dragonfly Trail. Whoever thought this up should be very pleased with themselves as it has never failed to delight. By the bridge I spotted a Chiffchaff, the first of the year. The feeders were not as busy as they have been, mainly because there were all nearly empty. But they were visited by Tits and Finches plus a pair of Jays; a female GSW; a Coal Tit and a Redpoll. I can't wait until the trail is opened for the summer.

On the return route a pair of GSWs could be seen chasing each other in between the trees. Then I was completely amazed at seeing a little Weasel trot past me, only about 6 to 8 feet away, across the tarmac. It was completely oblivious to me. A movement to my right distracted me, seeing a rabbit and when I looked back I lost sight of the Weasel. It was too quick for a photo but I was also a bit stunned to get my first sighting of one.

Over to the White Hide, via the Bittern Pool which yielded not a lot, where I had lunch. In between mouthfuls of ham sandwich I spotted a Bittern on the far side of the lake. It had caught a monster of a fish, which looked a Pike and it took several minutes to gobble it down. It then walked slowly in to the reeds where it settled down. It obviously didn't need to eat again today.

I paid another visit to the James Hide, downstairs this time to take a few more photos of the feeder birds. A male Pheasant was hoovering up the remnants.

The only thing of note back at the main viewing point were dozens of LBBGs turning up. The Oystercatchers had disappeared, more Lapwing had turned up but unfortunately the sun was going down. A really good day out. I hope it continues.