It was my half day this afternoon so a chance for a walk around the marsh to check the sheep in beautiful late autumn sun. A Green Woodpecker got things off to a good start then part way round I was stopped dead in my tracks by a single distant but distinctive 'ping'. However there was silence as I scanned the reeds on the far side of the neighbouring marsh from where the sound had come, apart from a Reed Bunting calling as it flew past. Half thinking I must have been hearing things I walked on only to be stopped again, this time by 2 pings. It was decision time. Do I stay on our marsh and attempt to get a distant view of a characteristic shape in the reeds to get them on our marsh seen-from list or do I strike out across the neighbours land to try and see and identify these birds properly? Ornithological interest won out over list mania and I headed out across next-doors very wet marsh. Clambering from sedge clump to sedge clump I worked my way along the reed bund and as a Marsh Harrier quartered low over the reed tops was rewarded with a sudden barrage of pinging confirming I had heard correctly. A twitching reed focused my attention on one spot but it took a change from pishing to squeaking to bring a little party of 6-7 dapper Bearded Tits climbing up into the tops of the reeds where they had been feeding in the reed litter only 10 feet from where I was standing. These were a long awaited first for the marshes even if not our own.
With plans (currently on hold due to the wet autumn) to put in a reed bund (and scrape) on our own marshes hopefully they soon will be.