The last few days saw a subtle return of frozen conditions to the Reserve - cool nights again froze all the marshes and lagoons - this coot was ice-breaking on North Lagoon:
As such the bittern has not been seen recently - presumably forced onto the river again. It remained until April last year - so there is plenty of time yet to embed itself in the marshes yet. Below is a reminder of Dave Ruffles excellent video from North Marsh last March to whet your appetite!:
However the little egret has been quite showy - commuting between Watton NR and Hempholme on Thursday. The feeding station is always predictably busy - brambling, siskin and willow tit in the same frame can't be bad!:
Thanks to Barry Warrington for the great spotted woodpecker pic below:
Siskin are prevalent in most of the alders, and just occasionally there are lesser redpoll mixed in.
The drake pintail is a fixture on O res at the moment:
Likewise the two redhead smew are seen daily. Today the 13 or 14 whoopers made a return - flying over the northern site at 11.30am - unfortunately they have left the access road at present. They have been replaced by some interesting geese - 1 white fronted and 2 barnacles both on D today.
Other small sightings included tawny's in the car park and on the access road, treecreeper at the centre, and at least 8 bullfinch on the southern site:
There are still a few winter moths about:
But spring is on the way - the snowdrops are nearly out, the woodpeckers are drumming, the scarlet elf cups are appearing, and the goldeneye are displaying:
Remember Maurice Gordon's wildlife photography class starts at the Reserve next this Sunday with places still available - visit his blog for details.
Also local birder Rob Young is starting up a new East Yorkshire Wildlife tour business and was visiting the reserve for venues today - see his site for further details.
Finally Gilleard brothers are due to install the shiny new EA hide at Watton NR tomorrow morning - which should offer some great views of smew - but unfortunately will fill the temporary void through which golden plover can be seen adjacent to Watton Beck at present!