You really can't beat a proper early morning. With the sun just coming up and few other people around it is the most serene of times.
After a full day's DIY on Saturday (just about the polar opposite of serene in my book) I headed off on this particular Sunday morning to two favoured local reserves. First up was Draycote Reservoir, where although it was a little cold, I was delighted to walk straight into 7 or 8 Yellow Wagtails, lovely birds which I rarely find anywhere but here. The last were in April, dropping in on their migration north, and now here were the fruits of that long journey - mostly juvenile birds on their way south for the first time. This bird is becoming increasingly hard to find, so it is always nice to find young uns.
Other birds at Draycote included an Oystercatcher, 4 Common Sandpipers (again returning south), a Swift (there are none left in my village now so sightings are becoming sporadic, Swifts being early returners to their African wintering grounds), a Sparrowhawk (great views as it flew in low over my head) and a Hobby (rubbish views of its tail disappearing over some trees).
I then moved on to Brandon Marsh where, finally, I found the female Common Scoter that had been there for a week or so - a lifer for me!
Alongside this bird there was a Kingfisher, another Common Sandpiper, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls with their huge chick, and the last two Common Terns, their chick now old enough to fly but still reluctant. I would guess the three of them will be heading south again within a fortnight if not a week.
Autumn is well and truly upon us.