© Andrew Moon
Different again this year. Spring really had sprung. There were lots of Little Egrets in the trees among the Grey Herons although it did not look as though they were nesting yet. But the herons were well on with raising their next generation with some chicks still in their eggs, some a few days old and even some 3 or 4 weeks old meaning they were laid around the end of January! How do we know all this? Because the cameras are up and running this year. 
It was a glorious sunny day although the breeze had a bit of a bit to it. This year we had a recruitment tent on the causeway thanks to Russell and Nelish in particular together with help from Larry, Linda and the Lees to name those I know about. They had the laptop with pictures and videos of the nests, taken the day before by our offshore cameras. See this news article.
This resulted in 19 new members signed up! Plus also some straight donations from people not local to the area but willing to give us their support. About £120 in all. Great for our balance sheet and great for raising awareness and putting what we are doing among and before the wider public.
Again we posted notices from the causeway and it clearly worked because Anna, Carol and I were kept pretty busy most of the afternoon and were able to show people a variety of nests with herons on them plus lots of little egrets. There were a good few "oo"’s and "ah"’s as they saw herons up close for the first time. Most were surprised that they were looking at the far side of the lake. We handed out some 30 or so recruitment leaflets. Let's hope we get some returns.
A successful afternoon.
What else was about? To tell the truth we were so busy we had little time to look. There were some small birds: Tits, Chaffinches, Wrens and Dunnock, which kept us entertained as they flitted in and out of the trees and bushes around us. Greenfinch too but no Cetti's Warbler or red kites this year. Butterflies included Brimstone and Peacock and a couple of others where we did not get a positive ID. There were a scattering of ducks out on the lake (Tufted, Mallard, Shoveler and unexpectedly a pair of Goldeneye) as well as Coots, Moorhens, Great-crested Grebe, some Lesser black-backed and numerous Black headed Gulls in full breeding plumage. We saw Cormorants, Mute Swans, Canada and a couple of Greylag Geese all flying or cruising by during the afternoon.
Next year I am hoping to do a live video feed from the Kingfisher hide. So watch this space.
Dick Beeden