Lade - 0700hrs - mild, cloudy, light airs - A cracking session on the local patch with the highlight being brief flight views of an immature Night Heron that flew around the scaffold island on south lake before dropping back into the willow swamp. That was at 07.30hrs, when I did manage to get an awful record shot, but despite scanning from the aerial ramp over the following hour it did not reappear. I`ve always thought from day one, almost 12 years ago, that `my new` patch should produce a Night Heron, and now it has. It`s perhaps relevant that 15 Little Egrets, 10 Grey Herons and a Great White Egret were also present across the wetland this morning suggesting that the lakes are teeming with fish.
Also of note, singles of Greenshank, Common and Green Sandpipers, plus all the usual grebes, Coots and ducks with young. Grounded warblers were in good numbers too with 20 each of Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroat, and one each of Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher near the ponds. Singles of Yellow Wagtail, Skylark and Mipit noted overhead.
A scan from the aerial ramp at 10.00hrs drew a blank on the heron, probably due to ongoing work on the wireless aerial with a bloke atop a cherry-picker. However, all was not wasted as my visit did deliver confirmation of a breeding bird.
Sparrowhawks are notoriously secretive when nesting and through the breeding season are only occasionally noted here, but the distinctive hunger call of a juvenile deep within the willow swamp was soon answered when an adult male flew across the lake with what looked like a dead Starling. The much larger female hawk received the prey from the male and plunged into the willows to feed the noisy youngster/s.
With the suns rays now bouncing off the shingle three Marsh Harriers and two Common Buzzards were soon soaring high above the airfield.
An evening visit with Pat and PB also drew a blank for the Night Heron. The Sparrowhawks were still active around the willow swamp, a flock of 15 Common Terns came and went on south lake and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was noted by the ponds.