By the time I had got the centre classroom opened up and ready for the digital photography course being run today I was running a bit late and there were already a couple of people waiting at Ivy North Hide for their opportunity to stake out for a bittern - not sure how successful they were as the outside of the glass was frosted with ice when we got in so viewing was not immediately easy. There was a roe deer moving through the woodland at the back of the reedbed to the right of the hide though. Hopefully they did get some good views in the end as at least two bittern have been showing well throughout the day.
Another visitor walked down to the Woodland Hide with me and he is certain to have had the views of siskin, lesser redpoll and brambling he was looking for - though at the time all of the siskin and brambling seemed to be up in the willow and alder canopy along the track down to Ivy South Hide instead of around or on the feeders!
Before I got to the South Hide I enjoyed listening to a great spotted woodpecker drumming nearby and watching a fox tracking his way down ahead of me and once in the hide was pleased to see the range of wildfowl that can be seen on Ivy Lake - shoveler, teal, wigeon, tufted duck, pochard and mallard and also a green sandpiper on the far eastern shore. There was also a pair of great crested grebes gently courting each other - not the full blown weed dancing and leaping about that will take place a little later, but they were facing each other and mirroring each others head shakes and nods.
On the way back up to the centre I looked out for other signs of spring and realised that the wild daffodils outside the Woodland Hide are a good few inches up in the more sheltered spots and also saw a couple of small scarlet elf cap (or cup depending on who you talk to!) fungi just starting to grow out of the decaying logs along the path by the alder carr - it's great to see and hear all these promises of spring on an otherwise cold and rather grey day.