A sunny start with a temperature of 13°C as I arrived early morning by the time I left the temperature was up at 22°C.It was good to hear both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler on my way to Astley Lake where there were large numbers of BH Gulls as there were on the rest of the reserve.Here also were Gadwall, Tufteds, Mute Swans, Cormorants and at least three returning Common Terns.
As I continued round the reserve there were no signs of Sedge or Reed Warblers but I saw and heard at least a twelve Reed Buntings.The main causeway through the main Lake was covered by water, which I saw someone negotiate carefully with their wellies on.Here I saw a pair of Shelduck along with the other birds already mentioned, on the ridge and furrow area there were Lapwings,Greylags and a couple of Mipits. Further along I saw a couple of Pochards which were close enough for some decent pictures, a commotion nearby drew my attention.Black-headed Gulls were mobbing a bird, my first thought was were is the rapter, but no this large bird flew low and disappeared in to the reeds.I could only think Bittern! as I set my camera to speed shots and took some hasty pictures which later turned out okay confirming my first bittern sighting.
I headed back stopping off at Astley Lake where I joined someone taking pictures of a confiding Common Tern on a nearby post,only flying off when a couple of dogs went into the water.I chatted with this birder who asked if I'd seen the Garganey, I said no and he showed me where it was.This brought me my second lifer of the morning and my thanks go to the fellow birder, then a hot walk back to the car and home.
|Bittern going into the Reed bed not to be seen again.|
|singing Reed Bunting|
|Bittern chased by one of several BH Gulls, Swillington Ings 19/4/2018|