Sunday, 30 May 2021

Summer Leyes :: 28 May 2021

This was more of a twitch than one of my usual visits to Summer Leyes. On Thursday, a purple heron had been reported at Summer Leyes but work kept me at home - through Friday I was itching to drop everything as it was reported again, but still work came first. My wife came home and I suggested an early dinner and that gave the possibility of dashing across to see if I could connect with the purple heron, before the light vanished - the following day would be Saturday, and as we all know there is a curse on birds staying through until a Saturday morning!

I arrived in the car park and was met by a string of people heading away, anti-clockwise around the water. I asked a chap at the tail if that is where the heron was showing and he said they'd been unable to see it from the Pioneer Hide but some people on the other side had waved them across - they were assuming it was showing from there. Halfway to the next hide we met three guys motoring in the opposite direction and they indicated the bird had flown across the reeds and would most likely be visible from the Pioneer Hide - decisions, decisions - I decided to turn back with them and took a free spot in the hide. The residents said the bird had indeed dropped into the reeds but wasn't visible. This turned out not to be completely true as a couple of guys managed to locate it through scopes and gave a running commentary on it turning it's head, dropping down, etc ... anything but coming out. I managed to see it but it was a hardly a sighting. The commentary continued.

After an hour, the excitment grew as the bird moved forward slightly and it's head raised above the reeds. Within a minute it took to the wing and as we had hoped it was relocating to presumably roost - the light was almost gone. I managed a couple of photos and can give it a life tick.

I needn't have worried as report indicated that it had stayed for Saturday and there were some spectacular photos from Nick Truby and Magda Torju.

Purple heron
Purple heron

While I'd been waiting for the heron to show a fox and two cubs hunted and played on the far bank on my right, the cubs being much further advanced than those I saw in Banbury at the beginning of the month - I expect they may be at the same stage by now.

Fox cubs
Fox cub

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