Buoyed with our success we decided to stay local and visit Attenborough to see what had flown in. As we are lazy at the weekend we didn’t get out until late in the morning and made our way from the car park up the main drag and round to tower hide. We had barely arrived when we were informed that a night heron had flown in to the reserve and was currently roosting near tower hide.
We made out way swiftly to the path that leads from tower hide to the fisherman’s car park and just beneath a heron nest was the night heron roosting in tree. It was remarkably conspicuous especially as the other times we have seen them they have skulked in the reeds or under the overhang of trees. We couldn’t see much of its head but occasionally it would open a single red eye and glare balefully at us. We stayed watching it for some twenty minutes. We made our way slowly back to tower hide. We could hear the bittern booming in the reeds behind us and a grasshopper warbler singing in the field with the brambles. We couldn’t see the grasshopper warbler but when we stood on the top platform of tower hide we managed to see it clearly in the thicket.
Sedge warblers, linnets and assorted chiffchaffs and whitethroats were also singing lustily.
We watched the grasshopper warbler for some fifteen minutes and then made out way back to the centre. The other side of the centre we went into the sand martin hide. The birds are so close you can see every feather and it is a magical experience. At the front of the hide along the water’s edge a common sandpiper was walking backwards and forwards. We watched him closely and we were very pleased as it was the first common sandpiper we have seen this year ( not so common then). The night heron and the grasshopper warbler together with the common sandpiper bring my total number of bird species seen this year up to a hundred and sixty two. If I see another thirty eight species I will have reached my target for the year. The ground ivy, ladies smock and cowslips were all in flower as were violets. We saw comma, small tortoiseshell, orange tips in profusion and a peacock. After we had come home I saw my first Holly blue in the garden. Your father is on a snail’s course next weekend so not much bird watching then.
I finish with a picture of a Cetti’s warbler they are everywhere at Attenborough there must be at least 20 pairs on the reserve.We didn’t take this shot fat chance with the fleeting glimpses we get but it is a lovely bird.