20th April 2016
I arrived at the visitor centre on a bright, calm and sunny day full of anticipation of some summer migrants and I was not to be disappointed. I had only gone part way down the slope on to the reserve when I was met with the rather scratchy song of a Whitethroat. He seemed to quite happy to play hide and seek for a bit but did eventually pose on top of a Hawthorn and then a bramble.
I then moved on to the Cordite Store as I expected this to hold some more arrivals. Initially I had to be content with a resident Wren, but then a Blackcap decided that it was his turn to play hide and seek. To make matters worse, a Lesser Whitethroat was chinking in the nearby Sycamores but was very elusive, only poking his head out once to see what all the fuss was about.
This pair of Collared Doves were taking a well-earned break from the feeders at the centre and took a breather from nest-building to see what was going on outside.
Now on to the Barratt Hide. The new scrape is looking superb but up to now hasn't lived up to expectations, but the arrival of a few Pochard welcome. The Butts Hide didn't do much better with just a lone Redshank putting on a show.
On the way to the river wall the resident female Kestrel was going through her paces but on this occasion got the wind and sun in the right place for some super shots. Why can't they always be this cooperative?
Further along the path this male Reed Bunting proved his multi-tasking skills by holding on to this Phragmites head for grim death during a gale whilst singing at the same time.
But the star of the show today was the Grasshopper Warbler that had taken up residence in some brambles in a ditch by the river wall. It had frequently been reported as "showing well" which indeed it did, but what you weren't told was that it only showed for about 10 minutes each day. It was just fortunate for me that I happened to choose the right 10 minutes. Now that doesn't happen very often.