Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Heron update day 4

Today was a bit more trying for observers. The bird was seen a couple of times flying over the southern site before dropping into the lagoons at midday amongst dense reed cover - unfortunately in front of the smallest hide on site. As you can imagine it was somewhat cramped. Please be considerate when viewing - if others have not seen it please be courteous and make way once you have. The bird flew onto the neighbouring lagoon at 15.30 before being chased by a canada goose then disturbed by walkers - flying south. We now have signage up on the river bank to try and direct people out of sight.

A comprehensive search by many turned up nothing through the evening and we feared the worst. However just as I was leaving site at 20:10 I was flagged down by one of the last three birders on site - they had just observed the bird return to the lagoons and drop out of sight into dense reeds. We guess this would indicate a presence again tomorrow - one possible bonus is the planned conservation work taking place on Watton NR (tern raft launching) which will effectively reduce the possible heron hidy holes. Reserve open to all during daylight hours again on Weds.

I have now found time to add some of the excellent photos we have been sent. The first and one of the sharpest I have seen yet is this great shot by Dave Mansell:

For more of Dave's work check out his website here.

Regular contributor HVWG sent us these great pics too of the bird:

And Richard Willison kindly sent not only this picture from Sunday taken when the bird was first refound in the trees:

But also a good representation of the other wildlife around at the moment - including the drake scaup still present this evening:

Grass snakes:

And the marsh frogs - some of whom may have sacrificed themselves to the heron:

Other sightings from today include the whooper on south marsh east, yellow wagtails on D res walls and south marsh west.

Obviously a purple heron and a sunny 20 degrees gets everyone out - Jeff Barker has posted his water rail and reed bunting pics on flickr from north marsh. Martin too has the water rail on his blog, along with some cracking new species including possibly the great looking slender groundhopper, with more purple pictures - both moth and bird here. Tony McLean too has another roll-call of great pictures on his site - including some artistic coot work - proving there is plenty more than purple here. David Ware in on Saturday also managed to snap the female wood duck - not seen since here. Unfortunately Rory had a quieter time in North Marsh at the beginning of last week here.

In my opinion one of the best sightings today though was mine of a good sized water vole at dusk under the north lagoon hide - something which have been very thin on the ground after the recent mink population spike.