Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Plumbers, a joiner and an electrician are wreaking havoc in what was once our bathroom and will, in ‘a good week and a half at least’ (plumber's promise), be our superb new bathroom. Radio 2 and power tools have been on at full blast. The house has been filled with alarming banging. I have been exiled to the dining room. So, on Tuesday, for a bit of peace and quiet, I left for Dad's much earlier than usual, and paid my first ever visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Marshes.

As I entered the new visitor centre, I was surprised to see my friend Carolyn's teenage son greeting visitors. He explained that he was on work experience. I embarrassed him something rotten by insisting I take our photo and text it to his mum.

A pair of dudes on Tuesday.

To test him, I then asked Carolyn's son to tell me what birds we could see in the scrape about 100 metres away. He pointed out shelduck, black-tailed godwits, lapwings, little egrets, and a few other species, then delighted me with my first ever sighting of an avocet. It was feeding in the shallows with sideways sweeps of its upturned beak.

RSPB Burton Mere (my first ever avocet is left of centre in the foreground).

I then bade my guide farewell and headed off along the track he had pointed out towards a distant hide.

Wildlife Only

The track led through high reeds, and I was buzzed by a number of dragonflies.


The view from the hide was pretty impressive: dozens of little egrets, a family of grey herons, and a fair number of lapwings.

Egrets and herons, RSPB Burton Mere
Heron sculpture
Canada Geese

On my way back to the visitor centre, having paused to photograph a family of Canada geese on a small lake, I turned to see a black and white blur shoot past and disappear into some dense woodland: my first ever pied flycatcher!

Two new black and white bird species in the space of an hour: that'll do me!

I shall return!

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