Cramlington’s recent Purple Patch continued over the last few days. I missed a few of the sightings but saw the Greenshank at West Hartford on Friday evening.
Yesterday evening I headed up to East Chevington with Cain for the Purple Heron. We got to the second viewing point on the south pool just in time to see it take off from the water and fly over the reeds before landing around the corner just out of sight.
Sine I began birding Purple Heron has been top of my list of birds I want to see and it didn’t disappoint. No heat haze or wind, which had obscured views for some people earlier in the day, we could see the maroon patch under the winds and down the neck as it flew around. The presence of a nearby patrolling Marsh Harrier may have encouraged it to fly.
We moved down to the south end of the pool and spotted it on the edge of the reeds where for the next 45 minutes it fed and even stretched its neck upright like a Bittern.
As well as the Heron Pied Wagtails and Reed Buntings came to roost in the reed beds, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler sang and Buzzard and Short Eared Owl were hunting over fields to the south.
As we left we stopped and listened to a Sedge Warbler, which mimicked Tree Sparrow, Song Thrush and Swallow. The Grey Herons that had been very tolerant of their Purple cousin but eventually chased it around but it just turned back and landed in the reeds out of sight.
With light fading fast we quickly stopped at Cresswell Pond in time to see a flock of 23 calling Whimbrel fly north over the dunes and south car park. Also a single Whimbrel had been calling over the south pool at East Chev.