I had another try for the Bittern this weekend, and the Marsh Harriers. Guess what? Epic fail on both counts..
I should be a bit down in the dumps then – but I’m not. You see, I revisited a potential new site for a Hide and it seems to be perfect!
I started the day at Hatch pond, in the hope that one of the Bitterns might make an appearance. It didn’t take long to establish that the birds were not out, so it was a case of waiting.. and waiting. In the cold. Literally freezing cold..
Plenty of other birds were out though, and it was lovely to see a drake Pochard swimming by.
The Great crested grebes were very active, as were the party of Long tailed tits that flitted up and down the treeline.
I eventually decided I needed to warm up, so left the bitterns to start their party without me.
I had a couple of hours free in the afternoon, so popped down to my local Poole Harbour site in the hope that the Marsh Harriers might at least provide some raptor action. The tide was dropping, so I headed out to a gravel spit at the edge of the reedbed – a site I had looked at before.
Crouching down beside a tamarisk bush I waited to see what might turn up.
Plenty of birds flying to and fro, although a little too far out for any decent images. Godwits, dunlin, oystercatcher, curlew, avocet and of course redshank -one of which spent some time feeding on the shoreline on the other side of the tamarisk! The occasional peep told me it was there, but I daren’t try and look for fear of setting it off with it’s alarm calls.
My camouflage must have been pretty good – as a couple of Sika deer wandered to the edge of the reeds, had a good look around and then settled down to sleep!
No sign of the hoped for Harriers, but a peregrine falcon did a bit of a fly by for me. I’m pretty confident that this spot will produce some really good wader and raptor opportunities if I keep at it.
As I walked back to my car, I spotted a lovely Sika stag out in the field. The light was failing, so I had to really whack up the ISO to get much of a shutter speed. Interesting to see that he was not only alone, but had also lost part of an antler. I’m guessing he lost out to a rival during the rut this year – but judging by his size I’d guess he’ll be a match for most of the other stags next year.
It was nearly dark as I reached the car -not often that happens when I’m out with the camera! I think I’ll be trying for those Marsh Harriers again soon…..