Great start to a superb day's birding today, taking Tom and Lynfa around the Poole Harbour and ending at Blashford. Starting at Studland we walked out to Jerry's Point and scoped across the harbour mouth and Brand's Bay. Here we had good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe and in mid-harbour were five Eider one at least was an immature drake. Searching the water off Goathorn I found the immature Surf Scoter our target here and a lifer for our guests, though distant you could see the whitish patches on the face. Our next location was Knoll beach, scanning the bay we found several groups of Black-necked Grebe counting forty in all, also a couple of Common Scoter. Then it was off to Middlebere with a leisurely lunch at Corfe Castle on the way.
Middlebere produced the goods with excellent views of an immature ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the marsh then descending into the cord grass not to reapear again, well at least while we were there. Just before the hide three male Bullfinch brightened a grey day as they fed together in the thorn bush. A Stonechat also put in an appearance along the same hedgeline and several Little Egrets were moving around the marsh. From the hide a male Kestrel was acting as sentinel on a hawthorn out to the left. Shortly after while we were watching the Avocets, Teal and Wigeon out in the channel a large raptor flew in from the left, this time it was a female Marsh Harrier. Not long after we had a second bird this time an immature off to the right which crossed heading towards Arne. During the short time we were in the hide we watched large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits flying over towards the Frome. The usual Yellow-legged Gull sat out on the mud, also a single Grey Plover. Walking back to the car we had our fourth raptor for the day with a Buzzard.
Time was moving on and we had planed to finish the day at Blashford Lakes and what a good decision this turned out to be. Jackie and Lynfa reached the Ivy north hide before myself and Tom and as we arrived they were at the door saying hurry up there's a Bittern showing. In a channel to the right of the hide was indeed a Bittern looking for it's evening meal and it was on view for maybe fifteen minutes, and it turn out to be another lifer for Tom and Lynfa, a great way to finish a day's birding.
I apologies for the poor photographs but I didn't want to use flash and I couldn't get the speed in the dull light conditions.