Cattle Egret on the patch today, Gwent and patch tick,... yay.
An early morning, Cattle Egret related, text from TC meant a slightly rushed cuppa and Shredded Wheat and a quick dash patchwards. Unfortunately, as I whizzed down, the Cattle Egrets flopped over to Boat Lane and, from there, were watched to head off north-eastwards ("high,... lost in the distance,... doubt they'll come back,... no chance of locating them,..."). Bugger.
Headed off down Saltmarsh Lane. Found a Water Vole (probably two), mammal patch tick! I'd always put the odd report from the reserve down to a combination of rats, inexperience and string. But there one was, felling a reed, swimming across a reen and then spending 20 minutes devouring the aforementioned reed. I'll have to double-check there isn't a covert reintroduction scheme occurring; alternatively, I have either been walking straight past them for over a decade or they have colonised from gawd knows where. Interesting,... in a soggy little rodenty way.
Anyhoo,... news floated across the ether that the egrets had returned to Goldcliff. Tore myself away from ratty and headed back to Redhouse and the car, collecting a Nuthatch on the way (dwip-dwip-dwip).
Zoom, handbrake, mini-yomp, Cattle Egrets,... tah-dah! On the Gwent and patch lists. Nice.
The pools also produced a male Marsh Harrier, 3 Golden Plovers, 1-2 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 2 Spotshank and 6+ Greenshank; overhead a few hirundines, Skylark, Siskin, Mipits, etc.
PS. Shredded Wheat eh? Never quite bottomed out whether they are for eating or scrubbing your pants out.
PPS. Just checked,... eating apparently,... Shredded Wheat are for eating.