Because of the bad weather my camera didn't leave the car - the pictures below were taken during better weather - honest!
Yesterday didn't start well with a puncture caused by a screw stuck in my rear passenger wheel. I arrived at my local Savoy Garage shortly after 8am, in order to get it repaired well before my class, but they didn't have the electricity to repair it! They sent me to their Willerby outlet instead. I managed to get there but the rush hour traffic delayed my progresss. The repairs seemed to take forever when you are watching the clock. I was able to text 4 members of the Weds am group to warn them I would be late & where to go first for best views of Avocets.
Apparently, they were able to ID a Sedge Warbler by sound shortly after starting & there was plenty of action from the Avocets - even during the fairly constant rain. Luckily, Mike Andrews, one of the wardens, was in the hide & he was able to keep the class entertained with plenty of esoteric information about the breeding habits of these black-and-white favourites.
We went on to the next hide which had a single Shoveler, a single Teal & a single female Pochard, as well as plenty of noisy Black-headed Gulls. As we traversed the reserve we noticed that there were more Marsh Harriers perched in the open than usual. This seemed bizarre in the rain, but it is likely that their feathers will dry more quickly in the open among strong winds, rather than if they had been sat among soaking reeds protected from the wind. When the rain died away then the Marsh Harriers began to to perform some skydancing & interaction with each other. This was particularly spectacular in the afternoon & the raptors came closer to the hides than normal.
There were a score of hirundines, which were hunting for insects low over the water & readbeds. The vast majority of these were Swallows, but there were a few House Martins too. Although the flock was checked carefully we were unable to discern a Sand Martin among the other birds.
Overall the morning group saw 34 species with the afternoon session adding a Curlew to the tally. Of course when we went in one hide we were told that an hour ago there had been a booming Bittern, which had then flown through the area. We never caught up with this species, but we did remarkably well considering the dreadful conditions. The rain did ease off about 2pm, so the last hour of the pm session was much more pleasant.
The forecast over the next few days would seem to indicate we haven't done with the precipitation by a long chalk. Expect more of the same tomorrow...