Unexpectedly , just before leaving home this morning , volunteering up on the Greensand Ridge was cancelled . After helping Carol with some shopping , and with the cloud breaking , I decided to see if I could see one of the three Bitterns that Phil/Sharp by Nature , found on his patch at New Hythe yesterday . There was no sign of his car in Brooklands car park , so I had to go by memory on what he had described last night . I think I found the right place , and settled in on a small clearing at water level on the NE corner of Abbey Mead lake . Down out of the wind , and with a clear blue sky , apart from the Bittern , all that was missing was the sun cream . A large metal pipe provided a makeshift seat , and the sun was just coming around onto the reed beds opposite . There were some large birds about , including several Grey Heron coming and going to the river , and also Cormorants fishing and passing through . Two Kingfisher sightings and a mixed Tit flock , made up mostly of Long-tailed Tits helped fill the interest , against a clear blue sky . After an hour of watching , without a movement , I went for a walk back along the small track , and found the redhead Goosander that had done a disappearing act on my last visit . Once again , I had the sun in front of me , so just had to do the best given the conditions . After getting a couple of shots , I watched it move further out into the lake , where it started diving for food .
During my stay , I had tree sightings of Sparrowhawk , the last almost taking my head off as we converged on each other in a tunnel of Hawthorn trees . Another good hour watching the reed bed again , and again with nothing to show for it . I decided it wasn't going to happen for me today , it seems like it never does where this species is concerned . I walked back around Brooklands lake , and with the same sun problem , only took one shot of these two male Shoveller in the car park corner . Before heading home , I stopped off at Lunsford Lane to see if anything was along the small stream . The only sighting along the stream was a third Kingfisher , this one landing momentarily on the small wooden bridge , before continuing upstream . The Hawthorns in the area were attracting good numbers of Blackbirds , Woodpigeons and Redwings . The latter were very nervous if I got out of the car , so I positioned it as close to the stream as possible and managed to get a few shots . On the way home , with the gritters already out on the motorway , I thought about why I had dipped , again on the Bittern , then realised that someone had removed the red sign from above the reed bed , and the red arrows from the water . I knew that it wasn't my fault !
4 hours ago