Yesterday I started to feel a bit better (calm before the storm) and as I'd heard there was a Spotted Crake showing well on Sunday at the London Wetland Centre I decided to head on over.
On arrival, I was reminded that 14 September 2009, was the centenary of Sir Peter Scott's birth, a man, without whom, these nature reserves would probably not exist and a man who contributed so much to wildlife and birds in particular. I felt it was fitting that a picture of his statue (on the way into the reserve) should picture in my post today.
In the visitor centre I was advised that the new Bat House was being opened today and also there would be a birthday cake served at 4.00 p.m. if I was still there, I was free to have a piece of cake and a cuppa (As it happened, I'd left before that).
Traffic was quiet for a Monday and I got there about 10.30. The S.Crake had been seen from the Dulverton Hide again but by the time I got into the hide it had gone behind the island.
There was a very friendly group of birders there who advised it had been seen about 10 minutes prior to my arrival. We all sat and chatted and an hour went by. Of the eight or so birders mostly had scopes but a couple of us had binoculars only. Well, eventually I started to get hungry so headed off to the cafe for a sandwich and a drink - both of which I took back to the hide. Still no show and by now I was getting a bit chilly; consequently I headed off for a wander around the reserve.
To coincide with Sir Peter Scott's centenary, The Bat House had been duly opened and this was the view across the Lagoon. It's incredibly white and I'm not sure that I like it. There are a large number of bats around the Wetland Centre and the Bat House is intended to attract two of the species (8 of the UK's 17 native species have been observed at the Wetlland Centre); The Daubenton's bat which likes being near water - had it's own entrance low down on the structure on the lagoon side, and the other being the Pipistrelle Bat - this normally roosts in tree or buildings and therefore the outside of the structure should provide roosting sites.
Further around, the wonder colour of Autumn on this bush and..
its equally colourful fruit.
Out on the lagoon, the two young Great Crested Grebe youngster could be seen with a parent in tow.
Back again now in the Dulverton hide. The sun started to show itself albeit very shyly; it did just about catch the colour of this Lapwing.
We watched entranced as a Hobby spent sometime successfully hunting over the water. We were equally entertained by two Kestrels one of which, a bit earlier on, had landed on the roof of the Peacock Tower. Little did those in the Tower know that a BOP was not that far above them! Great stuff.
And finally, the Spotted Crake showed itself - for a good twenty minutes or so it came into full view and disappeared through the reeds only to reappear a few feet away. I wouldn't have seen the detail (just having binoculars) but one of the birders very kindly let me watch through his scope as he stood there sketching it! It was far to far to get a picture but I was just so thrilled to have seen it (together with a Common Snipe) and I added another lifer to my list!
Finally it was time to go home and en route I espied this rather guilty looking squirrel who had found a hazel nut and looked very determined..
"OK - she's not going to enjoy the hazelnut, I'm putting it away in my larder for the winter. And anyway, I'm hiding in the grass, so she can't possibly see me"
Rather pleasing day.
And today - well I've definitely got a cold, sore wind pipe and little energy! I don't like being below par!! And it's raining!! As a result of being lazy and watching the garden birds I did see a male Sparrowhawk land on one of the branches of the Eucalyptus tree - and it was duly chased off by a Jay which landed next to him! Was the Jay brave or foolhardy I wonder!
6 hours ago