Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Potty about Potteric

Bittern in classic pose (c) 2009 Marcus Conway Record shot of today's Bittern (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Lesser Redpoll (c) 2009 Michael Flowers
Reed Bunting - just liked the framing of the twigs on this one!
Reed Bunting (c) 2009 Michael Flowers
Gadwall (c) 2009 Michael Flowers
Silver Birches in Childers Wood (c) 2009 Michael Flowers

Unusually, when we entered the Piper Marsh hide at Potteric this morning the Bittern was waiting for us, and gave excellent views. Unfortunately, Tony was too polite to push to the front & Aileen was scrambling around for her battery, so they weren’t clicking away when the Bittern was showing at its best, so the blog is headed by an excellent pic taken from the same hide in December. The drake Pintail was another morning highlight, but it was snoozing in the afternoon, and was difficult to point out its plumage. We found time to visit the hide overlooking the main line to London from which I spotted Casper being given a hard time by the Black-headed Gulls which hope to nest there. Casper is the 3rd winter Caspian Gull, which has been at Potteric since 12th November. This was a “lifer” for everyone present, including the tutor – shock, horror! Although the pm session lacked Casper and the Bittern, we were blessed with a really confiding group of Redpolls – the best views we’ve ever had of this species in 6 years of the course! We could have watched these for ages but 2 trains decided to blast their sirens & the Redpolls (& Siskins) were frightened off. Also of interest were seven Herons showing from Piper Marsh Hide in the morning until one flew off with nesting material; a singing Goldcrest, and some on the morning session managed to track down a treecreeper without Eileen’s help! One slight disappointment was the failure to locate the Kingfisher, but I did hear it call from Mother Drain. Another good thing – Miles spotted a Peacock butterfly – it almost felt like spring has arrived, yipee!

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