As I arrived milky sunshine was being replaced with the proper stuff , which then lasted all day . The most noticable thing was the birdsong , mainly Great Tit and Song Thrush that was filling the site . Wrong end of the day , but I had a look in at the Bittern reedbed , but all was quiet , apart from a few Coots and Gadwall . Up the other end of the lake Tufted Ducks , Great Crested Grebe and a few Black Headed Gulls were all that were on offer . On the main path behind the Bittern's reedbed , I found what I thought was the first Blackthorn flower of the year , but with closer inspection , it proved to be Bird Cherry , all the Blackthorn being still tight in bud . Just further along the first of 12/15 Cetti Warblers that I heard today , burst into song . The scrub area only produced a Green Woodpecker , a few Tits and a small Goldfinch flock . Very little over the other side of the railway until I reached the river . The riverside path produced the first of many small flocks of Long Tailed Tits , which seem to have split up from their large winter numbers . As usual , several Bullfinches were heard and occassionally glimpsed . Grey Heron were heard over on the far bank , but had flown before getting a sighting . A flock of Black Headed Gulls were on the mud flats together with a pair of Shellduck . As on previous visits , a single Redshank flew off noisily on my approach . The Sunken Marsh just held a female Pheasant , another flock of Long Tailed Tits , and about six of the Cetti Warblers already mentioned . On the outlet to the river near the paperworks , I got a good view of what I thought was a Greenshank when I went round with Steve , and confirm that it definately was . With it on the mud were a pair of Teal and several Mallard . Rounding Brooklands , I stopped to talk to two anglers , who mentioned that they have seen a Bittern a couple of times in the last week on that lake . The footpath produced yet more Long Tailed Tits and also two Goldcrests . Crossing back over the railway , I thought I would have a look at the usual place for Water Voles , but none were showing . I followed the ditch and came across the first one almost in the same spot where Steve and I had the Firecrest , and where he got those fantastic shots . Without much cover , they were very edgy , but further along I found another young looking animal that was happy to sit eating whilst I snapped away .
Later , the 'plop' of an animal into the water gave the opportunity for a swimming shot . I checked the Bittern spot again , but without any sighting , and then decided to head off to Fackenden Down , to see if any reptiles had been teased out with the warm sunshine .
The first thing I saw on arrival was a male Brimstone , my first butterfly of the year , to be followed by a second at the other end of the site . The first pair of refugia , well lying alongside them , produced another year first , a male Adder taking the rays , still looking earthy after his winter underground . Was this going to be a special day - no , in fact , apart from two Slow Worms , no other reptiles were found . Out of interest , the report on last year's monitoring of the site , identified 75+ different Adders on the site . No I can't identify them , but I know a man who can , so when I find them , I send a shot of the head pattern , and he can put a number to each individual . Another first for the year on site , was Primroses in flower . Birdwise , only Magpies and Carrion Crows put in an appearance whilst I was on site . A pleasant enough visit in the sunshine , but disappointing in numbers of reptiles found , after a good start .
Tomorrow , hedgelaying under the Downs near Dorking , don't think the sun is going to be with us .