The pic is nothing special but if the pennies were available instead of using a heavy scope with equally heavy tripod, two cameras, bins and having a dog in tow we could have just had the dog the bins and a HD digi-video camera from which 5MP stills can be taken - voila best of all worlds, light and easy to carry, great magnification and stunning quality vid and pics..we're saving up!!!
Not alot else happening from the viewing platform - we found a Wheatear perched up on the fence-line but it was a while before we heard the thin call of an over-flying Yellow Wagtail (173) in with the Pied Wagtails. It took a while but eventually we had the briefest of views of one landing in the saltmarsh vegetation and instantaneously disappearing from view - not brilliant but hey they all count!
The saltmarsh is newly developing on flooded crop fields and clumps of Sea Aster were attracting good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and a few Peacock butterflies despite the stiff breeze. The track to the car park had a good tally of Common Blues but we failed to pick up a Wall Brown.
Other birds included a lone Curlew and a distant Greenshank calling with a Kestrel the only raptor seen although Peregrine and Marsh Harrier had been seen by others during the morning.
There must have been an airshow somewhere as we picked up on a Dakota and this Hurricane coming out of the airbase over on our side of the river.
Dragonflies were thin on the ground, or should that be in the air. It was a beautiful, warm summers day and this reserve should have been crawling with them - a bad season? We had a single Brown Hawker and what was tentatively id'd as a Southern Hawker. Butterflies were represented by plenty of Speckled Woods but not a lot else unless it was white. But we didn't visit the meadow area so there could have been more about.
The reason for not doing the main part of the reserve was because we'd high-tailed it down the the Kingfisher zone. After counting the waterfowl (which didn't take long!) it was a matter of sitting hoping and waiting. And after what seemed like an age we got one, a couple of calls followed by the fleetingest of glimpses. Kingfisher nailed ! (174) One to go for our 'expected total. We did get a good view of a Buzzard pretending to be an Osprey hovering over the end of the mere
We moved round to another hide expecting to get a better view - we didn't we got another fleeting glimpse as it disappeared and then we sat round for three quarters of an hour waiting for it not to show again. At this hide a young lady asked if we could identify a white headed bird of prey she had photographed taking off from a small patch of reeds and rushes - don't tell us we misidentified an Osprey as a Buzzard...no, her pic was of a juvvy Marsh Harrier - the second we'd not seen today!
That was enough and afternoon was pressing on, we've a cousin we don't visit too often who lives a mile from this reserve who has lots of Labradors so we decided we scrounge a cuppa of her and introduce Frank to his 'cousins' too. Both Bullfinch and Nuthatch were heard but not seen on the way back to the Land Rover. In the car park was a total surprise - well out of habitat a different cousin, her partner, and an auntie thrown in for good measure too. It was a family reunion!!! And we got told off for not visiting often enough - and there was us thinking it was going to be a quiet day's safari-ing!
First cousin (mother's side) we intended to visit wasn't in so Frank didn't get to meet his cousins and we didn't get our cuppa.
As an aside on Patch 1 this morning there was a very recently fledged Blackbird and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling indicating it had probably been present overnight.
Where to next? The quest for the 175th continues and with Little Terns being seen from Patch 2 in the last day or so fingers are well and truly crossed - those we still have at least.
In the meantime let us know if family popped up from nowhere in your outback this weekend