Once there I scanned around with another birder. They wasn't showing from this area, but while there we both saw the same bird fly across the field at the far side, it was a CUCKOO. It landed on one of the fence posts and started calling. We carried on scanning as we went (it is a big area) and a beautiful WHINCHAT started singing from the top of some large scub.
I could see other birders quite a way away, so putting my best forward I carried on. As usual around the Denge marsh Hide area I counted 7 COMMON WHITETHROATS flitting about. A couple of guys with huge len's on their camera's which looked more like rocket launchers told me that the Stilts was just a short distance away, hearing that was like music to my ears. As I arrived at the site where some other birders was at, I said to myself "I have made it". It was a trek but it was worth it to see the 2 BLACK WINGED STILTS. Scoping them up gave good views of them, the male that was showing more than the female, she was behind a tuft of grass.
It has been a long time since my last sighting of one but today it was worth the walk. During to time watching the Stilts a fellow birder arrived, Mike Hook, good to see you again.
On my way back I paused to see a distant PEREGRINE FALCON plus the COMMON TERNS that are nesting on the rafts out in front on Denge Marsh Hide. From here all the way to the ARC pit wherever there was reeds I was accompanied by REED & SEDGE WARBLERS and Marsh Frogs in the ditches.
Before going into the Hanson Hide Pam and I sat and had our lunch.
As I neared the hide a male STONECHAT, perched up high looked very dapper with the sun on him.
I took up residence in 'KEN'S CORNER' and began watching the Terns. There has been Black Terns feeding here with the commons over the past few days, but all I could see was the latter. After a while it started to get cold in the hide so it was a matter of see what else I could find and then return to the car. The other birds seen was a pair of Coots nest building in the reeds close to the hide, a male MARSH HARRIER doing what harriers do, a couple of SWALLOWS flying over, and 3 pairs of Oystercatchers piping. The rest of the birds was the regular species which can be seen virtually all around the reserve: G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, B/H/Gull, Little Egrets(in good numbers) Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall Teal, Dabchick, G/C/Grebe, Cormorant, Lapwing, C/crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit,
Now normally at this point I would be adding my * Bird of the Day* but today is different. Below is the reason why.
When Pam and I left the arc car park we saw this. I thought at first I was seeing things but I quickly told Pam and she was as surprised as I was, a **BADGER** Not only is it the first time I have seen one alive but it took me aback to see one out in the afternoon. I quickly grabbed the camera and fired off a couple of shots, this is about as good as it gets. but for me, it's a record shot. They was taken at 3.20pm.
This is my ** Creature of the Day.**
Although I was excited to see it I couldn't help but to notice a large bald patch at the top of it's hind leg, as visible in the picture. Thinking that it might be ill/hurt etc I decided to look up "Badgers venturing out in daylight", and this is what I found.
If you see a badger out in daylight or around buildings a lot, especially farm buildings, it’s likely it is old or ill and struggling to find food. It’s best to keep away as they can be vicious animals when they feel threatened, even more so when if they are not in good health.
I also read several reports that they have been known to show during the day even when they are healthy.
In my Blue Tit box I have a very busy pair of parents. They have been feeding all day, every day now for nearly 2 weeks. They are bringing in some pretty hefty caterpillars at times. I have Tit's nest in the box every year, but I have never had them with young this early before. *Must keep a eye on the hole*