Thursday, 4 February 2010


B-B-Bittern (c) 2010 Jan Davie
Water Rail (c) 2010 Jan Davie
B-B-Bittern (c) 2010 Margaret Richardson
It's in the centre - honest!
B-B-Bullfinch (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
Lesser Redpoll
Treecreeper (c) 2010 MJF
Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2010 Margaret Richardson
Reed B-B-Bunting (c) 2010 Margaret Richardson
Things didn’t look too promising at first, with at least 5 people dropping out because of the weather, but for those who braved the conditions, today shaped up into rather a special event. Less than 5 minutes after starting we encountered a flock of 9 Bullfinches (6 males) feeding in the middle of the path. There were a few Goldfinches among them, and a smaller, more unobtrusive darker bird – a Lesser Redpoll. Eventually, we managed to count 4 of these, 2 of whom had a noticeable pink blush on the breast. At Willow Pool hide there were visits from Jays, a Willow Tit, and plenty of Reed Buntings. We went on to Piper Marsh, but it was almost stuffed to the gills with photographic & video equipment, so we could hardly get in. The marsh was frozen, so we cut our losses & retraced out footsteps. The afternoon wasn’t as misty as the morning, & the Bullfinches were still around, but the Redpolls had gone. However, Sally spotted a Treecreeper, which showed briefly, as did a Bank Vole. We crossed the track to Childers Hide, but only a Coot & Pochard showed. Angela, from the morning session rang to say a Bittern was showing well in front of Willow Pool hide. This is Ken’s bogey bird – he’s missed one on about 10 occasions – so we frogmarched for 10 minutes until we got there, only to find all expectations were overturned – the Bittern was still there, & what was more showed amazingly well for another 20+ minutes, as it wove its way through the very small reedbed – completely changing its shape from a ball of fluff, to skypointing & most unusually of all, stretching its neck out at a very unusual angle. Everyone from the afternoon session would like to thank Angela for letting us know about the Bittern’s performance – a very memorable experience. They didn’t even mind missing the Water Rail! We skipped Piper Marsh, where the photographers had waited for over 5 hours to only spot 2 Sparrowhawks flying by, and apparently no other birds. We went to the 1st hide overlooking Huxter Well & saw Shoveler, Shelduck, Gadwall, Teal, Mute Swan and 2 Herons. The only question is, what is Ken’s new bogey bird!

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