Sunday, 8 May 2016

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. 



  1. Boom! Bittern! Wonder if one might fly over here one winters afternoon, not likely lol

    Nice Swallow shots, we complain about the poor light all winter, but the light now is just too fierce for birds, just an hour or so in the morning and evening to work with really .

    1. Cheers Warren. The thing about birding is that there are always surprises. The swallows were taken early before the sun got too high.