Barn Elms 28 November 2021

Thirteen members gathered at this acclaimed WWT reserve on a bright but bitterly cold morning. Numerous parakeets were squawking loudly around the courtyard. From the impressive range of photographic kit present it was clear that a bittern was urgently needed. Fortunately that came quickly at the Dulverton hide. From there we had a clear but rather distant view across the main lake to a bittern among the reeds on the north side while a female goldeneye conveniently swam right in front of us. A second bittern sunning itself at our second stop, the WWF hide, was much closer and offered superb opportunities for our expert photographers who later circulated some stunning shots. Common snipe were on the grazing marsh near the Peacock Tower and on the lake. Over 70 lapwings were the only wader representatives present. Additional water birds included two shelducks, numerous Egyptian geese, gadwalls, a pochard, great black-backed gulls, numerous shovelers, teal, wigeon and just one each of little grebe and great crested grebe. A water pipit on the grazing marsh flew away before our ID discussion concluded but expert views solicited later established its identification. Total species seen totalled 41, excluding collection birds such as red-breasted geese and wood ducks – beautiful and very striking – but captive in the World Wetlands area.