Eight of us met at the old lighthouse on a miserable overcast day. However, despite the apocalyptic forecast, the morning proved not to be too bad. We walked out to the beach and saw sparrows, starlings and blue tit in the scrub on the way. We decided not to go as far as the patch and took shelter by the first bird hide. From there we spotted around a dozen great crested grebe quite close to the shore, a gannet flying further out and another one floating on the sea, plus lots of cormorants. Around and on the patch were mostly black headed and herring gulls.
Deciding enough was enough we went back to the cars and drove to the ARC. On the way to the hide were long tailed tits, great tits, blue tits and robin. The ARC pit was very busy with coot, tufted duck, widgeon, gadwall, shoveler, shelduck and pochard in large numbers plus a pair of goldeneye, a pair of teal, a little grebe, a common gull, a single canada goose and two young mute swans. A great white egret was seen peering round the reeds. Then a bittern was seen flying into and disappearing behind the reeds at the far side of the pit. Scanning along the reeds hoping to see it reappear, a kingfisher was spotted clinging to a reed, and then a second bittern appeared weaving its way in and out of the reedbed. We completed our visit to the ARC with good views of a black throated diver.
In need of sustenance we moved onto the reserve and stopped for lunch in Dennis’s hide. By now the weather was getting much worse, so after a look around the shop to get some much needed warmth we visited the first couple of hides and added lesser and greater blackbacks, pintail and greylag to our list. We didn’t get a glimpse of the long eared owl as he had more sense than us and was keeping out of the wind and rain. By 2pm we decided to call it a day and headed off back.Many thanks to those hardy souls who braved the weather and to Terry for the photo of the great white egret.
Cliff and Sue Provins