On Wednesday we set off on the long-planned excursion into foreign territory. We set off in bright sunshine, which turned to hazy sunshine at Howden before darkening to full overcast conditions by the time we crossed the border.
Black-necked GrebeThe day started well with Stock Dove, Willow Warbler, and other more common birds around the car park.
We set off and had been going less than 10 minutes before we were able to add a Swallow, Sand Martins, Linnets, a pair of Kestrels, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.
Record shot of Meadow Pipit
Proper Shot of Meadow Pipit (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
We were lucky to find a pair of Black-necked Grebes very close to the path we were on. Just after this a Swift flew around us, and we saw a common Tern. Meanwhile we heard our first Bittern for a few years. as we continued this became louder and louder until we were the closest we've been to a calling Bittern for more than a decade.
Black-necked Grebes (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Pair of Black-necked Grebe
Great Crested Grebe (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Gadwall (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Record shot of Swift
Our journey was interspersed with many sightings of Linnets, which seemed to be nest-building. We fond a pair of long-tailed Tits around the same habitat. Although the sun didn't come out, it did began to feel warmer, and we were surrounded with insects. Luckily, they didn't appear to be of the biting variety.
Male Linnet (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Male Linnet [with no red]
Male Linnet with more red
Common Tern (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Female Pochard (rich red brown example)
This was an experimental visit to this reserve, and we discovered that the route we took was too long for a 2.5 hour walk. next time we will have to take a shorter circuit. However, the participants were very impressed with both the quantity and quality of the birds seen, and they are keen for this venue to be added to the standard itinerary in the future.
Male Reed Bunting (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Male Reed Bunting
Black-headed Gull (before it dropped it)
Gosling with parasol!
Black-headed Gull (c) 2017 Maggie Bruce
Coot Chicks - Only Their Mother Could Love Them
(c) 2017 Maggie Bruce