I'm pleased to say that New Hythe is once again a winter host to that very secretive, rare and enigmatic bird, the Bittern! GOOD OLD NEW HYTHE!
I reached the 'watching area' on Streamside lake at 12.40 this afternoon and at 12.43 a Bittern flew up from the preferred reedbed and made a short flight of about twenty feet before dropping back down out of sight. All over in a few seconds and of course no time for a picture but who cares, it's just great to see it back. Of course there could be more than one, I saw two together there last year so who knows. Hopefully i'll get a picture soon, watch this space!
Other good stuff seen on a misty, grey but calm morning included a Little Egret flying east over Brooklands lake, and a single Gt Crested Grebe which I mention because it was on the river, unusually. Also on the river opposite the small wood were no less than 12 Little Grebes with 4 others seen further upstream and at least another 4 seen on the lakes. A single Lapwing stood hunched on the far bank mud left by the falling tide and a single Redshank probed the shallows on the near bank.
Two Grey Wagtails flew over the sunken marsh as usual announcing their presence with their loud and constant calling. Here also were good numbers of Redwings which as ever flew noisily away flashing their red 'wing pits' as they careered out of the still berry laden bushes, pay attention you Waxwings! A lucky glance skyward at this point was just in time to see a Buzzard flying west, towards me before reaching the river and turning to follow it north. I puzzled over this bird because it didn't seem quite right for a Buzzard, a bit flappy and shorter bodied, but having looked at some bad pictures I took of it I think Buteo buteo is the right call.
Above is a poor picture of a Cetti's Warbler which unexpectedly showed itself near Abbey Mead lake. Another couple of seconds and I would have had a better picture but any shots of a Cetti's are worth having really. Unfortunately the two Goldcrests seen shortly after were not so obliging but numbers of these seem to be growing at New Hythe this winter which is really good to see.
Six Shovelers on Abbey Mead took off as I approached and flew around the lake a couple of times before eventually deciding I was reasonably safe and landed back in exactly the same place they'd taken off from. On the Railway lake were three Pochards and a few Gadwall and in the Alder trees further down were three or four Siskins, this being the second small flock seen today.
In all 43 species saw me today at New Hythe, Bittern Buzzard and Cetti's hadn't seen me this month, so the November NH list now stands at 54