Not one for early mornings I was out side the Valley gates at 5.00am, still pitch black, could have had another half our in bed......
I ventured in at about 5.20am with a hope of an owl silently gliding across the marsh; my expectation dashed by a thick layer of mist that had settled over the flood and scrape so much so that in the dim light i could see barely into it. I edged my way along to the main viewing area where you could hear more than see; two Cettis Warbler battled it out with song, Mallard making them selves known along with Coot and Moorhen. Two Water Rail from different end of the scrapes "sharmed" as a Green Woodpecker "yaffled" behind me; and it was cold, hands firmly in pockets so it was just as well i couldn't see.
Dave Mo tweeted 5.20 am "Hobby Barking Bay" at least i wasn't the only one up and as i got to the iron bridge heading towards the Bottom Paddock i heard my first "COME HERE!" which broke the silence and was the start of normality over the valley; Dog walkers love them or hate them on your patch there here to stay.
I was still in hope of a Spotted Flycatcher or Wryneck over at the Paddock. The sun wasn't up yet and if i hadn't said it before it was cold and it looked like the birds agreed with me; nothing about and it remained that way for some time. Eventually at about 6.30am the sun started to provide a tiny amount of warmth and slowly but surely the lower paddock lit with the morning rays. Birds once hidden now started to flit about, Robin, Lesser Whitethroat and Dunnock mainly. Woodpigeons, Stock Doves and Collard Dove took to the skies flying in different directions.
A bird that kept me guessing for a while had the shape of a Flycatcher and although i saw it again later that morning, it was right at the back. Not much else happened really, i was standing in the shady area down by the fields moaning to myself about how cold i was and started my walk to the sun when two Robins started to chase something about, a quick glance and it was a male Redstart shortly followed by a female on other end of the bush. Both birds eventually being chased.
Not being able to relocate them i decided it was time to head somewhere else when further up another male or the same one was showing well. There's been a Redstart in the paddock now for a bit but i believe its been the female that's been seen so two possibly three birds, i let the others know and some decided to pop over and a selection of photos can be seen on the Ingrebourne Birders blog