Yesterday I was in earlier than usual for a bird ringing demonstration with our Young Naturalists group (I know I keep saying this, but a Young Nats blog will follow soon). We spent the morning bird watching in general when we weren’t with the bird ringers, visiting the Woodland Hide, Ivy Lake hides and Tern Hide with some of the group. We had our fingers crossed for both bittern and a white-tailed eagle fly by, but alas were not successful.
After an early start, the group left at midday, and about 20 minutes or so later I was still outside the front of the Centre when I saw a few visitors looking up to the sky. I looked in the same direction as they were, to see one of the white-tailed eagles soaring effortlessly overhead, with a sparrowhawk keeping it company.
It was a fantastic sight to see, but I genuinely couldn’t believe its timing – perhaps next time the group will get lucky.
The eagle managed to shake off the accompanying sparrowhawk and drifted off over the trees towards Ivy Silt Pond.
The bittern has been showing rather nicely at times in front of Ivy North Hide, but yesterday it too eluded myself and the group. I did head over there briefly in the afternoon, after hearing it had been spotted, but with no success as it had disappeared off deeper into the reedbed. I looked for it again whilst locking, but instead after hearing a commotion in the undergrowth towards the left of the hide I was treated to a very nice view of a fox, who decided to give up on whatever it was doing and trotted in front of the hide and off to the right.
Although the bittern has been present in front of the hide for a number of days now, it has often been in amongst the reeds, using its excellent camouflage to blend in.
This afternoon I did get lucky, heading over to the hide with Chloe and Ben. Although it was in amongst the reeds, we could quite easily pick it out, especially when it was moving around. I did manage more of a record shot photo, but David Cuddon who was also in the hide at the same time fared much better and sent these images across:
Much better than my spot the Bittern photo! Thank you David for sharing them.
The kingfishers have been showing well, visible from both Ivy South Hide and on Ivy Silt Pond, and there have been good views of great white egret flying over Ivy Lake. Ring-billed gull, yellow-legged gull and green sandpiper were seen on or around the shore of Ibsley Water over the weekend.
In the woodland, firecrest have been seen in amongst the holly on the Dockens path while reed bunting, marsh tit, siskin and lesser redpoll have been coming in to the feeders at the Woodland Hide.