The Safari was at the nature reserve in good time for the guided walk and got set up ready for the Ranger to bring the expectant birders round. Trouble was we couldn't find any Long Eared Owls to show them. As beautiful as Fieldfares are they don't make up for not seeing the advertised owls, a gloriously bright Canary-like Greenfinch tucking into Rose hips didn't cut the ornithological mustard either. Nor did a Great Spotted Woodpecker perched high in a distant tree, most people expect them right by the kitchen window on their bird tables these days. The Ranger set off to see if the owls were in one of their other favoured roost spots and left us to hold the fort while he was gone. Seven Whooper Swans could be heard on the water but we could only just about see them as they swam past a small gap in the trees and although fascinating Bee Orchid rosettes aren't that over-exciting either!
Over-flying Pink Footed Geese are always good to see and hear.
The group continued their walk and we went to collect some firewood. We got two bags worth - or a about enough for a month's burning in Little Bertha. We locked the gate behind us when we'd finished and called in to say we'd done so - it was then we saw we'd missed a call. The call we made shocked us...while we'd had our head down with loppers and saw we'd missed a Little Egret on the scrape - it might still have been present. we were given permission to drive round but those two gates to unlock and lock behind us had us fretting. As we arrived MJ and EP called us over to the bench and told us they were following an Iceland Gull they'd briefly seen at the far end. Our scopes were soon up and the three of us scanned but to no avail. The Little Egret wasn't visible from where we were stood but MJ said it should be still on the scrape 'around the corner' from the Grey Heron we could see. We drove a little further and discovered the Little Egret had done a bunk!
Not doing very well, were we?
We had a few minutes looking at the gulls just in case the Iceland returned. It didn't but this Herring Gull with its head on upside down flew past.
Gulls were coming and going all the time, bobbing in for a bathe.
A Cetti's Warbler sang to our left and a Water Rail squealed to our right but we saw neither.
Good numbers of Teal were seen but none with a vertical white stripe. Wigeon were heard whistling and a fine and dandy drake Pochard swam past - where are all his mates, they seem horrendously scarce this season.
All too soon it was time to go. totally dipped out!
Where to next? Patch 2 might provide some interest but then again...but we're always hopeful and if we don't look we deffo won't see. what do they say...if you don't go out you wont see nowt!
In the meantime let us know what successfully avoided the optics in your outback.