As always, a welcome to the reserve was provided by the reed buntings that are scattered across the site, as well as pied wagtails enjoying the bounty of evening insects taking flight.
One of the real treats though came further along where a nest-load of willow tits had recently emerged, and the fledglings were enjoying the late evening sunshine.
As mentioned in the Days 4-6 post, birdsong is always a treat at this time of day in summer, and blackbirds, whitethroats, blackcaps, robins and more were singing away. This song thrush will have carried on long after the sun set.
Warblers can be hard to spot, and even harder to photograph, but this willow warbler was being very obliging as it gathered insects to feed to its own brood. There’s no camera trickery here either, that blue of the sky is really how it was.
Another juvenile out and about was a young grey heron that was squatting in the top of this bush. Even though they fly, and nest in trees, I’m always quite surprised to see herons off the ground.
No owls though. Then, off in the distance, a ghost gliding over the fields.
I would have been happy enough with this sighting, but on my way to the exit, a much closer appearance, right next to me. Sadly it saw me first and simply glided off away from me, leaving only photos of a disappearing owl.
There was also a female roe deer bounding over the meadow, but I didn’t bother raising my camera and just enjoyed her pronking off into the distance. Probably not the only mammal, I suspect I was mere feet from an otter but it disappeared into the river leaving only a trail.
I’ll end with a run of photos of the setting sun from various parts of the reserve, as it really was genuinely beautiful.