So, on 17/07/15 Steve Haynes Tweeted the news of a possible Night Heron at Meadowlands Fishery, Ryton-on-Dunsmore. It was fairly late as the sighting had occurred at 21.00 and I was unwilling to go on 18/07 as I was due a night out, an all too rare occurrence during the breeding bird survey season. The bird was reported by a fisherman who was sure he had not seen a Grey Heron but there were no details of plumage or precise location. On 19/07 I set off with no great deal of confidence I would find it even if it was a Night Heron as there are three lakes in the area and plenty of cover. I started on the footpath at Jubilee Pool and worked west until I reached the centre of Meadowlands Fishery. Looking east back down the lake I guessed to be the best bet (as it was lined with trees) I found the bird sitting on a promontory at the far end. It was indeed an adult Black-crowned Night Heron. By now it was getting late and I rang a few of the people I knew could get there in time, all of whom managed to see it. On 20/07 I returned and asked if birders might be allowed access but was told absolutely not. Dan Watson and I walked the footpath to try and find it roosting and I soon realised that the area where the bird spent most of its time on the evening of 19/07 could be viewed at much closer range from the section of path between Jubilee Pool and Meadowlands Fishery. By walking east of the lake and looking back to the south bank at the eastern end a promontory is visible and this was the bird’s favoured area. I put this information on Twitter and last night Steve Valentine saw the bird from exactly this point on the path, again it was commuting between the fishing stages on the south shore at the east end of the lake and the opposite bank (where it is not viewable from the path). Messages have gone out suggesting that people ask the baliff if they want permission to go in and look for the bird so perhaps the fishery has had a change of heart. Unless, however, it is visible at its day roost (the location of which is unknown to me) I can’t see much advantage in that and would suggest the best bet is to look from the path from 20.30 onwards. Unfortunately my camera is being assessed for an overhaul at the moment so I have no photos but they wouldn’t have been much use at the range and in the light conditions.
Closer to home activity has been quite good, though typical, for the time of year. A Common Curlew was calling over Woolscott on 27/07 where Yellow-legged Gulls have been congregating in a recently ploughed field with peak counts of 17 on 16/07 and 18 on 19/07. I treated myself to a wander around the Napton area yesterday and was successful in finding a M Common Redstart, the first of the autumn season. There were also five Spotted Flycatchers which appeared to be a family group and I suspect were local birds though the juveniles were quite advanced. I have yet to connect with any Common Crossbills though Martin Elliott had three on the Upton Estate on 24/06 but more seasonally unusual were two Eurasian Siskin flyovers at Draycote Water on 10/07 and Upton Estate on 20/07.