Lyn and I decided to get a takeaway when I got home from work, so I ended up making a very late arrival (19.45) at the patch. I planned to stay until well after dusk in the hope of nocturnal birds.
The low sunshine allowed me to take a shot of a backlit Brown Hare on the way to the pools.
I was pleased to see that the pair of Canada Geese have successfully bred, producing four goslings.
Other waterfowl remaining included Little Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Redshanks, Little Ringed Plovers, and perhaps most intriguingly a drake Teal. My hunt for nocturnal species began well, with a Little Owl in a completely different part of the patch from its usual haunt. By 21.00 the sun had dipped below the horizon, and I heard a final burst of song from a Whitethroat near the bridlepath. A bird flew out and I casually picked it out with my bins. Thank goodness I did, because I found it was not the Whitethroat, but instead my first ever spring Spotted Flycatcher at Morton Bagot. Result!
Actually they did breed at Netherstead when I first visited the patch in 2007, but it was early August before I actually saw them, and they had disappeared by the following year. The only other breeding record was from three years ago, but on that occasion I didn't find the birds until early July.
As I walked back to the road a Tawny Owl called in the distance. Now the challenge was on, Little and Tawny under the belt. Back at the road I scanned the valley, and bingo, a Barn Owl was hunting distantly in the ridge field. All three Owls in one visit, although admittedly the Tawny Owl was just a hoot.
What a hoot!