Female Ruddy - this was what caused the bust-up!!
The morning was very wet, as was the early part of the afternoon, but as the rain stopped the wind began to pick up. Those who turned up had a very rewarding birding experience despite the inclement weather. One of the first sightings in the morning by June were the 3 male Ruddy Ducks fighting over females. In the afternoon a juvenile male (without blue beak) also appeared & several of the males started their bubbling courtship display. Unfortunately, the nearest male displaying would only do so with its back to us! – see pic. Tessa, a relative newcomer, was on strong form when she quickly identified Gadwall, Pochard & Teal without any prompting. There were at least 5 Snipe in the "Snipe Hide" during the morning session, but these had all gone by the afternoon. A summer plumaged Little Grebe gave extremely close views in the morning from Reedy Hide, but was absent later in the day. The afternoon session heard a booming Bittern from here (the first of the year for any of us) and then it flew briefly towards us before dropping back into the reeds, when it resumed its booming. We also heard & briefly saw a Willow Tit in the hawthorns along the path opposite the Hotel. The hide along this path had a Kingfisher briefly in both the morning and the afternoon; while a thrill in poor light conditions for the afternoon class was the Marsh Harrier which passed close by – silhouettes of this bird can be seen above. Chris & Tessa may have seen the long-staying Red-throated Diver, I was unable to locate this during the afternoon, but it was still present more than a week later. Also present were Bullfinches (6+), Shoveler, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker (identified by Polly), Reed Buntings and Tufted Duck. Peter, Liz and Tessa were impressed by this new reserve (for them), and it should be even better when they revisit next month, hopefully in finer weather!