With the sound of Cetti's Warblers singing from the cover of the bushes, we made our way to the beach. At first the sea looked a bit quiet, until we got our eyes in and spotted divers! Unbelievably there were a mix of Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers (mostly Red-throated) on the sea in groups and singles, strung out offshore from Sizewell to Southwold. We estimated the numbers that we saw clearly to be in excess of 50 and probably the whole area contained over 100. They were making their way north, which was evident in the general movement with birds flying and then settling on the sea. The only other birds we could find were a small group of Common Scoter.
There was a distinct lack of waders on the scrapes, which was rather disappointing. The most interesting bird being an 'exotic' (possibly from a nearby shoot) - a White-faced Pintail.
After lunch we made our way to Bittern Hide where there were very recent recorded sightings of Otters and as a consequence was rammed with people wanting to see them. According to one guy who had photographs taken earlier in the morning (he was there all day!) they were most likely to appear early morning or late afternoon. No Otters for us! Bittern and Water Rail were the order of the day.
After waiting a while with no Otters or Bittern on view, we went to see the new Island Mere viewing room - can't call it a hide as it's like a mini version of the monstrosity at Titchwell. The only bird of note was a red head Smew, there was supposed to be a male as well but he chose not to put in an appearance. Similarly the Glossy Ibis kept a low profile and didn't appear for us!
So it was back to Bittern hide just in time to see a Red Deer walking along the bank and then over the bank and down to the water where it caused some comments on it's culinary use as it obscured views of a Bittern emerging from the reeds. For those of us standing it wasn't a problem we just moved behind those seated and were able to get some reasonable photos.
A short while later when the crowd had thinned out a bit there were good views of a Water Rail and more sustained views of Bittern.
Altogether a day of multiple sightings!