|Bee Orchid - a sign of things to come|
There was little about at Reception Hide. A few harriers skydanced in the strong wind, not put off by it, and a few coot, greylag, pochard, shoveler and a couple of Canada geese were on the broad which looked like a rough sea. With little around, I decided to go look for a firecrest that has been reported for the last two days. My guess was that it was in the second woodland trail that takes you to the water pump building. A pair of visitors passed by and told me that they heard a loud, high pitched song by a pond with yew trees. I waited at the spot and met one of my regulars called Richard.
No firecrest at this spot, but we knew another spot further down where the path comes out of the wood and meanders towards the river. Along the way chiffchaffs distract us with good views but not settling for a picture. We didn't follow the path all the way to the river, only to the end of the wood where a field bordered by trees often favoured by firecrests. Still no firecrests, but we did see some fieldfares and we heard a strange call thats like a squeak. I reckon it was a tawny owl hidden somewhere in an ivy-covered tree in front of us being unsettled for a few moments. I had to return to Reception Hide, so I left Richard to it. On the way, I stopped by at the pond again and I watched a nuthatch climb along tree branches pecking at the bark for a meal. It was then I heard a loud, high pitched, rapid trill of possibly a firecrest. The strangest thing was that it was coming from the direction of the nuthatch. But it can't be the nuthatch as it was far too high pitched to make him the culprit.
Today is April Fools Day and my colleague wanted to play a trick on the serious birders amongst our visitors. We came up with a bird that would get people excited, but was also a more possible thing that you could come across. We then wrote it on the sightings board like we would to any other special sighting of the day. When we normally write up a special sighting, we put the intials to the spot where it was seen (for example 'Kingfisher (RH)' - RH meaning Reception Hide). So for our little prank, we wrote "Eagle Owl (AF!)" with the AF standing for April Fools! One of my other regulars was reading the board and got excited when he saw Eagle Owl written on it.
"Where's this eagle owl?" he asked. "You see those initials?" I replied. "Yes!" "Well it is at... April Fools!" He was ashamed that he was so easily tricked, but me, my colleague and the visitor's wife just laughed at him.