Day off yesterday so of course I spent half of it out birding on the reserve and what a great time I had. Denge Marsh was once again the top spot to be and my main hope was to see the purple heron, having failed spectacularly so far. Luckily this time I had two fantastic views as it flew back and forth across the open water between the main reedbed and the Springfield Bridge area. Apparently, at the same time as I was intently watching the first flight, a bittern was flying in the opposite direction towards the viewing ramp - these flights are becoming more regular and suggest that the biterns now have young in the nest.
There were hobbies everywhere, with six in the sky above my head at one point and numerous birds perched on the posts of the predator fence. Another treat was seeing male and female bearded tits in the reeds near the bridle track gate, whilst I also managed to track down the elusive red-crested pochard, which was tucked up in one of the far corners of Denge Marsh. I find it impossible to by-pass the Hooker's pits viewpoint - there's always something going on and again I wasn't disappointed as a bittern was gently booming and I managed to witness a food pass between a pair of marsh harriers - just like on Springwatch!
I'd been hearing cuckoo all afternoon and as I walked up the track, admiring the colourful bird's-foot-trefoil and biting stonecrop along the way, one flew across infont of me. Near Boulderwall Farm a hobby was perched on the 15 miles-per hour sign, tree sparrows were chattering around the feeders and a blackbird ws singing its lovely song from the overhead wires. Fabulous!