The Safari was once again grateful to CR for the offer of a morning's trip out to the nature reserve. Today was less windy and rain-free and our hopes of something new being blown in overnight were high and the slight improvement in the weather had us willing the Bittern to fly, or better still come to the edge of the reeds in front of the hide where the sun was shining - it didn't, not even once the sun had gone in and spits of rain appeared.
On the water the local herd of Canada Geese honked loudly as they went about their business, watched in quiet disdain by four Grey Lag Geese. The resident family of Mute Swans were cruising around too.
Normally at this time of year the pleeping calls of Teal fill the air, today none were heard although we did see a couple of small flocks flying around. Away from the very sheltered kids' duck feeding area where a gaggle of very hopeful Mallards had gathered (there'll be few kids laden with bred until at last the Christmas hols now) it was Shovelers or bust out on the water other than a good number of gulls.
We regularly checked the gull flock as new ones were arriving all the time. We had a good early count of 31 Common Gulls and noted on two first winter Black Headed Gulls in about 100 adults - not a good ratio. A few Lesser Black Backs came in including what could well have been yesterday's tidy looking second winter but no matter how much we willed it the flock contained no Mediterranean, Caspian, Ring Billed, Bonaparte's or other dodgy species, even a Kittiwake would have been good! Unfortunately none of the gulls or ducks were close like yesterday's Mallards.
Best of the rest with feathers came in the form of a male Kestrel hunting the far side and a Sparrowhawk that did a couple of close fly-bys, the first putting up the gulls and three Snipe, an unseen singing Cetti's Warbler and a lone Wigeon. The day was so mild that several insects were on the wing including a couple of bumble bees, several Wasps, all on the same flight-path, a fly buzzing around just outside the hide window and a Migrant Hawker.Where to next? Back at the docs tomoz to get the bandages off so maybe we might be able to get out after that.
In the meantime let us know who's making the most of the last of the autumn sunshine.