Yesterday saw the first Autumn class. Less than half of the participants had returned from holiday, so it was a very depleted group which assembled in the inadequate car park. Even before everyone had put on their coats Bearded Tits could be heard 'pinging' and swinging round we could even see them on the top of reeds above the gate. We have never seen 15 from the car park before. It looks as though it's been a good year.
All photos (c) 2015 Chris Cox
Male Bearded Tit
Female Bearded Tit
2 Bearded Tits
We walked to the first hide, and one of the new recruits coming all the way from Whitby spotted 3 Roe Deer moving along a hedge line. There was plenty of "pinging" accompanying us on our way, although it began to reduce as we neared the hide. A Kingfisher heard us coming and flew west along the water filled ditch.
Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing & Ruff
From the hide itself there were a few Ruff, a large group of Black-tailed Godwits, some Lapwing looking wonderful in the bright sunlight and a handful of Dunlin. A flock of Avocets flew in, and later we saw a larger group of Golden Plovers, which had been put up by a Peregrine. Meanwhile Marsh Harriers slowly patrolled the area, but seemed to have less effect on the wading birds.
The walk to the other hide on stilts was less eventful than usual. We heard a Green Woodpecker on the hillside, and we discovered an elder bush laden with berries, which was full of birds. Among them was a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting among others we couldn't see properly. As we neared the bush a Cetti's Warbler sang continuously, but by the time we got there it had gone quiet, and we never heard it again. Throughout our walk some strange squeals by Water Wails punctuated our journey.
It was a wonderful start to the term, and I'm sure the Whitby couple saw plenty to make their journey very worthwhile. It may be a long time before they see a Bearded Tit again, but here they were almost ubiquitous!