Firstly apologies to any early morning birders that were in first thing today as I got caught up in the road closures and so was late opening the reserve.
After the hour and a half drive to work my spirits were lifted in Ivy North Hide as I opened up and was greeted by a bittern. I watched its peculiar fishing technique as it stretches out its neck, dipped its beak just into the water and then peered with one eye into the murky depths of the water, looking for any signs of movement. I didn’t have to wait long for although peculiar the bittern has this fishing technique down to an art and was soon swallowing down a whole fish in one gulp.
I was disturbed from this scene by a sudden flurry on the surface of the water just beyond the reeds as I saw two great crested grebes swim towards each other, necks stretched out low to the water and beaks stuffed full of weed. I couldn’t believe my luck as I watched them propel themselves up out of the water to standing, legs kicking away so that they were walking on water facing each other with their weed offerings. They then dropped the weed, lowered back into the water and did a funny head shake dance to each other. An amazing sight to witness, topped off by a sudden outburst of song from the cetti’s warbler!
Coming back down from Ivy South Hide I heard a commotion in the reed bed to the north of the lake and a grey heron took flight. As I looked down into the reeds you couldn’t miss the bittern as it was sitting right up in the reeds all puffed up.
I was back in the office for the remainder of the day but I think I had the best hide on the reserve. Not only was it lovely and warm but there was a constant stream of blue tits and long tailed tits feeding on the fatball hanging by the window and as if the day couldn’t get any better, as I sat down to write this I spotted a kingfisher in the pond, its mouth stuffed with a tasty morsel that I’m guessing could have been a newt as it was about the right size and shape. It soon spotted me though and flew off with its snack before I could confirm its identity.
Elsewhere on the reserve the 2 black necked grebes were on Rockford Lake. There was no reported sightings of the ferruginous duck however it was seen from the north screen on Ivy Lake yesterday. A lesser spotted woodpecker was also heard calling in the woods by the woodland hide.