I didn't arrive this morning until 6.15am where it was already quite warm in the cloudless blue skies. There was a lot of campers on site but working mainly around the perimeter of the site, I hardly encountered anyone and was still able to check everywhere I wanted too. As I got out of the car, a few Swallows were above me on the wires with a couple prospecting for a nest site nearby. This provided me with a few photo opportunities and although the light was quite tricky, I was quite pleased with the results. Fantastic to see them back and hopefully they will remain in the area to nest.
As I walked on the western side of the patch, I stood and listened for a while. There were plenty of birds in fine voice but then I heard a call I am familiar with coming from the Stour Valley direction. It was that of a Bittern (98). I had hoped that this might be an option early morning here but wasn't sure if the call would carry this far. I heard it 'boom' a few more times and then text Martyn Wilson who I knew would be in the valley to confirm my sighting. He text back a few minutes later to confirm that there was indeed a 'booming' Bittern calling. An excellent start to the day and what a bird to get on the year list, I wasn't expeting that. I spent the next couple of hours wandering around where I noted 2 Blackcap, 7 Swallow, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Pheasant, 5 Skylark, 3 Mistle Thrush, 3 Reed Bunting, 7 Whitethroat, 4 Yellowhammer, 3 Cuckoo, 1 Nightingale, 2 Kestrel, 6 Mallard but no sound this morning of any Grasshopper Warblers. There were 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan with 1 cygnet, 2 Long tailed Tit, 1 Linnet, 1 Greylag Goose heard, 2 Barn Owl, 1 Reed Warbler and 2 Common Tern flew towards Grove Ferry. The session was somewhat cut short by a phone call from daughter alerting me that a Hairy Dragonfly had just emerged from the pond so I returned home to photograph it. A real bonus hearing the Bittern and with Hobby and who knows what else to see, the magic 100 species is within touching distance.