Virtually the first birds we saw on Tuesday am were also the best birds we had seen on a Tuesday for some time. Initially, there was a 'ping-ping' sound and then 8 small birds with long tails flew up vertically in a southerly direction, but then they turned and headed north over our heads & headed back deeper into cover in the reedbed. That may have been all on an other occasion, but only a few seconds later we heard some more pinging and then we found first a moustachioed male shinning up a reed to take a look at us, followed by a female. The wind was quite strong and they were being buffeted by the reeds, but everyone got good views of the pair.Bearded Tit in Full Cry
8 Beardies - a -flying (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
A Pair in the Reeds is Worth None in the Hand
Bearded Tit (c) 2013 Chris Cox
Bearded Tit (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
There were quite a lot of birds in the air including a single Green Sandpiper, and a small flock of Ruff, but further off there were literally hundreds of Golden Plovers swirling around in tandem with some Lapwings. They may have been flushed by a single Marsh Harrier. The water levels were exceptionally high, so it must a been a very high tide. The Otter prints were under water, and because of the very cloudy water there was no sign of the Kingfisher.
Immature Heron (c) 2013 Chris Cox
Assorted Ruff & Dunlin (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
On the way back Chris spotted and identified a male Stonechat. This may have been the first we have seen all year, it was certainly the smartest male we had observed for a very long time.Stonechat
Curlew (c) 2013 Chris Cox
In the afternoon we were amazed by a dogfight between a Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk. Later we found an exhausted Peregrine perched in a dead tree. It was an immature bird, and it kept craning its neck to watch us, but it looked a bit thin & scraggy, so it may not be finding enough food to survive. In Ken's telescope we could see the white fringes to its feathers and some brown colouring, which showed it was a young individual. Another new bird in the afternoon was a Jay. The Stonechat was still present & allowed me to get fairly close.