It was mild to say the least,with the car temperature gauge reading a balmy 10 degrees and for a change i didn't need umpteen layers of clothing on.
As i left the car i could hear the welcome sound of a singing male Reed Bunting,not the greatest songster i know,but a true sign spring is on it's way.
As i walked along the approach track a flock of 32 Redwing flew over the tall poplars near to the entrance gate and a Woodcock flew over the horse paddocks and into the plantation,no doubt flushed from it's daytime roosting site.
Further on along my walk and just as i passed the first dipping platform,the familiar sound of a male Cetti's Warbler sub singing very close to the path had me stopping in my tracks to try and catch a sighting of this often skulking species.With some perseverance i eventually saw him through the reed stems, feeding typically low down at the bases as they often do,what a lovely species these birds are and i was certainly pleased i had seen the little skulker.
As i carried on through the reserve,a few sightings kept things interesting and included 2 precious Willow Tit associating with a mixed tit flock and also in the same flock a lovely Treecreeper also.
A few Siskins and 3 Lesser Redpoll were entered into the notebook as i eventually arrived at the Duck Hide.
Some decent numbers of wildfowl were observed from here,from the high vantage point overlooking the main lake and included 93 Wigeon,24 Shoveler,38 Tufted Duck and a pair of lovely Goldeneye.
The second male Cetti's Warbler of the morning was then found along the path side as you walk from the duck hide and down the slope before the turning to the wader hide,so 2 for the site was excellent and it would be great if one of the males manages to attract a mate.
More signs of spring around the reserve included a pair of Oystercatcher,as i entered the wader hide and a group of noisy Cormorants made for some entertaining watching,as a couple of the immature birds squabbled over some branches which they were playing with.No doubt half thinking about nest building at some point in the future.
Also from the hide here were some good numbers of Black-headed Gulls beginning to gather for the forthcoming breeding season and also the first Shelduck too.
Further on around the reserve and some more harbingers of the coming months included a profusion of Marsh Marigold plants coming through and in the small woodland pond a Common Frog and at least 6 Smooth Newt provided some more interest to the visit.
What a great few hours out this morning to this superb gem of a reserve.
|Robin,Near The First Dipping Platform.|
|Cormorants,Black-headed Gulls And Lapwings Along The Bottom Island.|
|Adult Black-headed Gull,Taken From the Wader Hide.|
|Marsh Marigold Plants Growing Through In One Of The Ditches.|
|Record Shot Of A Male Smooth Newt From The Woodland Pond.|