It may have been blowy out there today, but there were also some early signs that spring is just around the corner.

Here’s today’s summary of sightings…

The two brown hare seen at Old Moor today weren’t boxing but it’s only a matter of time.

We are so used to seeing cormorant around the reserve that it’s easy to forget that as we head towards spring, they look like completely different birds.

Cormorant on the Mere today

Then there’s the bitterns – or more specifically, the male bittern. At Old Moor, in the very early spring (and before those eerie ‘booms’ get going) the male bitterns ‘rehearse’ their strange courtship call. Think of it as warming up their vocal chords!

I suppose some might call it a ‘pre-boom’ but among bitterny folk it’s more often referred to as ‘grunting’.

To those that have heard it, it’s an odd sound indeed. Listen out for anything unusual in the reedbeds at the moment. You never know, it may be a ‘grunting bittern’!

But worry not, you’ll not be listening alone. Old Moor has already deployed the keenest of the bittern monitoring team! Or, as one birding wag today dryly put it, “I see Gerald’s back in 'is box”

With another bright but blowy day forecast tomorrow, keep those eyes peeled for these (and other) signs of spring. Not long now.

Until next time.

Anonymous