I knew very little about the reserve or the species it held, and other than a quick look last night, its layout was unknown to me as well.
This morning I set out in warm, bright but breezy weather, firstly stopping at the visitors centre, which has an observatory looking out over an area of the reserve, which includes one of its Common Tern nesting islands. Teal, Wigeon, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Oystercatcher, Hooded Crow, Lapwing, and Common Buzzard, along with 6 Greenshank, 2 Black-Tailed Godwit and a Ruff were seen here. Moving on at 11:00 I began following the track to the tower hide. Along the way I added Yellowhammer, and Reed Bunting as well as, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Small White, and Small Tortoiseshell.
At the Tower Hide, I had my first, of what was going to be many, encounters with an Osprey. Its was feeding on the shorts grass out in front of the hide harassed by a Carrion Crow a few times, it soon finished its meal and began hunting again. It began circling upwards, then hovering over a pool to the right, then all of a sudden plummeted, and caught a fish, this was the first time I had seen an Osprey fish, but it wasn't the last, over the day had had 5 more encounters such as this.
After a while I found myself once again in the visitors centre, not much had changed although I did meet a few of the local birders, who were very helpful. An hour or two past and I headed in for tea.
Tea was done and the other two reserve hides were on the cards, a short drive to the other end of the Loch. First spot was the Bay Hide, which gave good views of the Loch and another Tern platform, a large number of wildfowl were present on the Loch and a Osprey performed for me again. Quite a bit of time was spent in here just soaking up the atmosphere, before I moved on to the Fen Hide.
A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling as I made my way past the gate, heading down into the boggy woodlands, and along the boardwalk before reaching the hide. The sunset was reflecting its red light off the waters surfaces, creating a calm peaceful atmosphere, just me and the birds, or so it seemed.
After picking up a lone Whooper Swan I noticed movement in the water, an Otter! which swam straight past the hide. 22:30 and I headed off. Another great day.
There was more images from today, but the RSPB's Internet connection is still at a rate similar to dial up and there's no WIFI, I think I would have been here all night.