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WEATHER: Dull and overcast, showers on and off all day. Mild, termp 16C

It is now becoming my new routine, a visit to Sutton Bingham reservoir before I take a walk into Yeo Valley. I left the flat at 7am and from the garden I scanned the meadow which now has even more sheep in it and the grass is getting very short. The Partridges were not there just a pair of Magpies and a Crow.

Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls - see the size difference?

At the reservoir I stopped at the causeway which seemed very quiet, just a few dozen Mallards which always loaf around there because people stop to feed them with bread!! A couple of Grey Herons and three Little Egrets were in the pool on the west side of the causeway and a few each of Black-headed, Herring, Leseer & Great Black-backed Gulls of various ages sat out on the water.

a buck Roe Deer

The usual Moorhens, Great Crested Grebes and Great Cormorants were also present. At the southern arm of the reservoir I scanned the exposed muddy area which is about 400 meters away. There I saw a single Green Sandpiper and three Common Sandpipers, two Kingfishers and a Roe Deer.

if you use a magnifying glass you can see Green and Common Sandpipers, Great Cormorant and Roe Deer in this picture! Ha!

Further scanning of the shoreline along both sides of the water produced very little, just more Mallards, Black-headed Gulls, Great Crested Grebes and Grey Herons.

Grey Heron taken through the tall grass along the shore

A Chiffchaff was calling from the salix and a party of Blue Tits worked their way along the hedgerow and a Wren sang out. I saw nothing else except a few Canada Geese that dropped in from the surrounding fields. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were hopping about in a distant field too.

record shot of a Mistle Thrush

When I got back to Stoford I parked the car and walked round to the Valley entrance, again it was very quiet with only Blackbird, Woodpigeon and Robin showing themselves. I walked through the first meadow catching brief views of the stream where I saw another Kingfisher and heard Green Woodpecker, Common Pheasant and a Raven. The Common Buzzard fledgling sat in its usual place calling non-stop (this went on all day with two other birds in the meadow next to our garden).

a prized sighting on my patch - juvenile Moorhen

From the slope at the far side of Rook’s Hill I stood and watched the dead tree and the fence for nearly an hour with very poor results. Only a family party od Goldfinches landed in the tree and nothing used the fence. I did see the two Moorhens on the river and had good views of Raven in flight.

this is Greater Burdock, I have never seen one so big!

The sky darkened and rain threatened so I walked up and over Rook’s Hill, a Green Woodpecker flew up noisily from the grass and two Buzzards circled above me. I did notice a group of 12 Barn Swallows hawking insect over the wheat fields  and a few House Martins in the valley. Before I left a saw some movement in a large clump of bramble so I watched it for a while. A Blackcap emerged and proceeded to chased off a Chaffinch, there was also a Robin and three House Sparrows milling about in there.

The rest of the day was spent at home, it rained most of the time, what a great summer we are having!!! I can now understand why I haven’t spent many of the last 20 summers in the UK.