© Andrew Moon
Rather different this year. Spring had not really sprung yet and we had brought Heron Watch forward a week or two. Consequently, there were no nesting Little Egrets although we did see three at one point, at least one of which was looking interested in the trees and nest sites. There were a good number of Grey Herons on nests and it is possible that some were sitting on eggs but there were no signs of youngsters.
Given the recent weather there was a surprising number of people about in what was a pretty ordinary and coolish day. But at least it stayed dry. Again, we posted notices from the causeway in the hope that some of those walking the Aquadrome might extend their walk to where we were. Perhaps they did because Anna, Carol and I were kept pretty busy most of the afternoon and were able to show people on nest in particular with a pair of herons standing on it for much of the time we were there. There were a good few oo’s and ah’s as they saw herons up close for the first time.
Again, I set up my scope with my mobile phone so that the view of the nests was on the screen, which makes it a lot easier for people not used to squinting through a telescope, and for children in particular (of which it turned out there were very few), to see clearly and easily what is going on. Most were surprised that they were looking at the far side of the lake. Unfortunately, no feeding behaviour of course that we have seen in previous years We handed out some 30 or so recruitment leaflets. Let's hope we get some returns.    A successful afternoon.
What else was about? There were some small birds. Tits, Chaffinches, Wrens and Dunnock kept us entertained as they flitted in and out of the trees and bushes around us. In particular towards the end of the afternoon a Cetti's Warbler kept us entertained among the reeds below the watch point. One usually only hears this bird but this gave us clear views. No doubt it is nesting nearby. A pair of Cormorants have taken up residence on the osprey pole. We had several excellent views of a Red Kite, which are quite common over the lake these days. No butterflies this year. Too cool I think. There was a scattering of ducks out on the lake (Tufted, Mallard and Shoveler and unexpectedly a pair of Goldeneye) as well as coots, the odd Lapwing, some Lesser black-backed and numerous Black headed Gulls in full breeding plumage, Cormorants, Mute Swans and Canada Geese and at least one Egyptian Goose all flying or cruising by during the afternoon.
During the afternoon I did pop down to Kingfisher hide to see if there was any change on the camera but alas no. The nest is not being used and an empty nest does not make interesting viewing. Towards the end of the month our camera supplier who has a ringing licence will go out to the island and move the camera and get the other one working so hopefully during May we will have lots more to show you.
Dick Beeden