I woke up early to try and get to North Cave Wetlands by dawn. I managed to arrive at 6:00, still quite dark. I was not fully prepared for the full volume Black-headed gull breeding season cacophony this early in the morning, and I briefly considered relocating to North Cliffe Wood. I watched the dozen or so Avocets from the viewing area and quiquly moved onto East Hide. Just opposite a pair of adult Mediterranean gulls were engaged in some displaying. Black-headed gulls were displaying and mating, but there was little or no evidence or nest building, just pair displays and possibly choosing nest sites.
Afterwards I walked by the maize field and quickly saw a Barn Owl flying low along the road. It stopped for a while on a road sign.
At reedbed lake there was a pair of swans, the cob busy chasing greylags that dared invade his territory. In this photo he appears to check its reflection on the water.
From the reeds on the far end of the lake, the rapid screeching song of a Sedge Warbler, my first of the year. I managed to see it briefly as it jumped above the reeds to catch an insect. A male Reed Bunting posed for me though.
A small group of Sand Martins and a Swallow fed on swarms, both firsts of the year. A Chiffchaff sung from the trees by Carp Lake, and later a Willow Warbler in the same area. A female Blackcap was also about. Jackdaws were busy nest building in the holes in the large ash trees.
By Crosslands hide a Green Woodpecker was feeding.
There was also a stunning Little Egret, in full breeding plumage fishing. After trying the leg-shaking-in-the-water trick it flushed and caught a Stickeback.
At Main Lake a lovely surprise was a pair of Whooper Swans. They failed to stay for long, as Black-headed gulls kept dive-bombing them. After trumpeting in synchrony for a few minutes they took off, being followed into Reedbed lake by a furious gull.
I ended up retracing my steps and walking clock-wise around the reserve. The light was much better for the Mediterranean Gulls, and there was another pair nearby. This one seemed a bit sleepy.
As I popped into the viewing platform, I was informed that I had missed a flyover of a group of 11 Cranes. That would have been quite something, but despite missing the cranes, it was a lovely morning, with 57 bird species.