We started at the Arc pit , as work was being done on the entrance at Boulderwood Farm . The Hanson Hide wasn't very productive apart from the common species , and no sign of Bittern either . We moved around to the screen hide on the other side , which initially only produced Tufted Ducks , Teal and Mallard . We scanned the reedbeds until Cliff whispered , 'Bittern on the left ' . Deja vu enveloped as the Bittern stayed well within the reedbed , never offering a shot opportunity . After what seemed like ages , it did work it's way into thinner reeds and it was possible to get a few shots . It then returned to thicker reeds , before appearing to break cover in front of the reeds , only to be seen catching a good sized fish , which it took back into the thicker reeds . We waited some time , without a sighting , then it flew to an adjacent reedbed and disappeared .
Now able to get onto the reserve , the feeders produced 8/10 Reed Buntings amongst others .
From Scott Hide , a pair of Pintails , male on right . From the same hide , a very smart drake Smew , one of at least 2 seen today . Late afternoon , two redhead female Smew , in total 8 were seen . In the bramble/scrub before Christmas Dell Hide , a Firecrest was found .From Dengemarsh hide , a Black-necked Grebe , looking tiny against a Mute Swan .From the same hide , a Marsh Harrier swooped into the reedbed .
A run to the fishing boats failed to find the Glaucous Gull or the two Ravens which have be residing in the vicinity .
With the sun finally coming out , three of a large flock of Bewick Swans flew off .The soft afternoon light showed off one of several female Goldeneye . At least 3 males were also seen , but stayed well out of camera range .Flitting around the reedbed were two Chiffchaffs .
Also seen , but not photographed were , Peregrine , Curlew , Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail . We didn't find the Slavonian Grebe or a female Merlin that had been seen earlier .
In total , 54 species were recorded , which could increase to 55 , if this duck can be identified !