On a much less early morning with a fair bit of cloud cover breaking to reveal the full moon I met Mark Chidwick at the Grove gate at 3.45am where we preceded to walk the whole reserve on the listen (once again) for Crakes etc. The pre-dawn tour produced 9 Nightingales in fine voice, 1 Tawny Owl. Loads of Sedge Warblers, 3 Turtle Doves, 3 Cuckoos, 1 Grasshopper Warbler and one amazing sounding Bittern that felt as if it was just yards from where we stood. We clearly could hear 3 sharp intakes of breath before a fourth followed by the ‘booming’ exhale followed by intake, exhale etc for up to eight booms a go every minute and 25 seconds, absolutely superb. During daylight hours we noted 2 Bearded Tits from the Ramp, 2 Shelducks, 2 Tufted Ducks and 5 Marsh Harriers. The Wood Sandpiper was still beside Harrison’s as was the single Ruff, a Redshank and a male Wheatear and as we were heading towards the ‘White House’ Mark picked up 2 Avocets flying that circled twice before heading of north over the A28 while Marsh hide still held 2 Ruff, 2 Greenshank and 2 Redshank. We had made our way through the Alder Wood and onto the Lampen Wall when an out of breath Bernie came steaming up to us only to inform us he’d not half hour ago had a Stone Curlew on the very field by Harrison’s where we’d been watching the Wood Sandpiper and the Wheatear. To top it off Tony Swandale who had a brief visit to Marsh hide while we were there, also managed to bag Bernie’s find as well as Norman McCanch, lucky profound expletives etc, etc. We did try very hard to relocate it as Bernie seemed to think after it flew it appeared to drop somewhere near Grove road south of the Boat House but, we along with Sue Morton were unsuccessful. Loads of hirrundines about today, mostly high up in the blue sunny skies, several Linnets atop bushes around the reserve and plenty of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks scattered around. A single fly over Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Herons, 2 Common Buzzards and 9 Hobbies were the best of the rest.
|Drake Wheatear along Harrison's in the field where we DIPPED Stone Curlew|
|male Marsh Harrier with red wing tags|
|male Marsh Harrier with no wing tags|
|the Lesser Black-backed Gulls remain ever present on the Ramp pool|