I’d already arranged to meet someone for an unfinished business meeting at Tophill Low today, when news came that a Purple Heron had been seen on site over the weekend. I turned up 2 hours early & after an extremely close encounter with a Mistle Thrush I went to North Marsh, but there was no sign of that bird, or of the Kingfishers. Only some flirtatious Pochard, plus Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and a dozing Mute Swan disturbed the silence. After the meeting I travelled round the Southern part of the site, and marvelled at the new interpretation boards, which contained some of my ‘student’s’ photographs. There were also a couple of new comfortable-looking benches which had been installed since my last visit. It was a very peaceful morning, as all the reserve visitors seemed to be congregating on North Marsh on the look-out for the elusive Purple Heron. I spent most of my time in one of the back-to-back hides overlooking SMW. There was one particular hawthorn bush, which over the course of an hour contained a singing Garden Warbler, a singing Sedge Warbler, a female Blackcap, a singing Willow Warbler, and a silent Lesser Whitethroat, which had a go at sunbathing until another small bird disturbed it. It seems to be a good year for Garden Warblers with good numbers of the birds all over the reserve. I could hear 2 different Turtle Doves purring from the deep cover of South Scrub, but I couldn’t spot them. On the way back I had a sunbathing Song Thrush, and what sounded like a whole family of Long-tailed Tits in the hedge not far from the visitor centre, but few new species. Tophill Low is great at this time of year once the weekend is over if you just want to commune with nature in peace and quiet for a while.
Blogger is still malfunctioning for me, so pictures are from top: 2 pics of Lesser Whitethroat, followed by 2 of Sedge Warbler, and then 2 of Mistle Thrush, which should be compared & contrasted with the following sunbathing Song Thrush. There are then 2 studies of the North Marsh Barn Owl followed by Pochard, Tufted Duck, a pair of Canada Geese and their goslings, an insect (Caddisfly?); and finally a female Pheasant.