After news Emerged on the early morning of the 15/05 that Matt Griffiths from the Earlswood Blog had found a Night Heron at earlswood lakes i was generally quite pissed off, i had been there the previous evening with little to show for it. and despite in the evening passing within a few miles of the lakes, i was unable to get there, and when news emerged later that evening that the bird was showing as i was driving past left me in even more bad mood.
But as the week passed positive news was released day after day, the bird was still there and some amazing photos were emerging, but i just had a horrible feeling that it would dissapear before i could get there, Saturday came, to be greeted by the news that the bird was still at the lakes, but extremely sporadic reports left me in dought that the bird would show, I walked from the norton lane Garden to the lakes at around 4pm, and preceded to walk to the causeway, where i met Kevin from 'Diary of a birding medic' who was also after the bird, after a chat i walked down towards terrys pool, as some news shown the bird had shown there a few time in the day, but after a walk around the pool, with nothing to show i walked to springbrook lane, where also there was very little of note, i walked back towards the Cway via Windmill Pool and again saw very little Bar the Mandarin which is ever present and was seen to have sexual relations with a mallard..
The Crowd at the Cway was now well into Double Figures, with many 'Famous' Birders/photographers present, most of whom tried to get pictures of the Mandarin, while there i was watching Swifts and Terns And couldnt be bothered to waste the energy to walk to the other side of the road to have a nosy at the worlds most confiding (plasitic) Mandarin.
Time dragged on, with very little to watch. Just me knowing this would be my only chance to see the bird with going on holiday the next week, i was detrmined to see it, however many time from 7:30 onwards i was threatening to leave, and by the looks of it so did most of the crowd, many people dissapeared and it was left to 7 inhumane People to wait for the heron to show. A few of their large grey cousion flew past but at 8:29, nearly 4 1/2 hours after ariving i spotted a heron flying in over windmill pool
You could just feel the instant relief of the long staying crowd to finally lock onto the bird, as it flew south along the pool your could see all its major features and it was great to catch up with this species again, a british lifer.
(This photo was taken in Turkey (April 2010) but i have edited it to make it more like the Earlswood bird by flipping the image and darkening it to make it more like the scene, other than some cropping, there are no other alterations)
The sections of birders set off into two groups, and we ( Andy P, my dad and me) decided to follow Matt along the eastern bank of windmill pool, so we could view the willows on the other side, there wasnt a night heron there so we checked the scrub to the south of windmill pool where we had decent views of a male and female CUCKOO as they flew around, and perched in the area, we decided to not venture onto the Scrubland as to not disturb the bird.
Thanks must be given to Matt for finding this bird on his patch, after spending very long periods 'working the place', and his willingness to show it to other birders, a well deserved patch bird.
Keep it up