I didn't quite get to Burton Mill Pond for dawn as I had initially planned but I ended up spending a very satisfying few hours there till shortly after noon, by which point I'd recorded 67 species. After staking out the heron for good while, I walked the loop round the pond, passing Chingford Pond and walking back through the heath and along the road.
There were three clear highlights of the visit. The first was a Woodlark flying over one of the viewpoints over the pond. Next was a Yellow-browed Warbler which gave three calls by 'Woodlands' just as I completed by circuit - it went unseen but was sound-recorded thanks to my constantly running recorder. Finally, just as I was closing the boot of my car to head off, the shout came from across the road that the juvenile Purple Heron was showing again! It spent several minutes preening low in a waterside tree before heading back into the reedbed. A new county bird for me.
There were several other highlights. Several encounters with Crossbills were mainly flyovers but included a sighting of four in the conifers on the other side of the pond. One or two Hobbies hawked over the margins and at least one Kingfisher was very busy around the edges. At least four Firecrests and five Marsh Tits were seen or heard along my circuit. 14 redpolls and 70 Siskins - at least - flew over, along with minima of 120 House Martins, 15 Swallows, 22 Meadow Pipits and 13 Pied/White Wagtails, plus nine Mistle Thrushes and two Grey Wagtails.
A couple of Reed Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler were in the reeds, while four Mandarins and at least 40 Cormorants passed by. Three Red Kites, four Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk completed the raptors. Other birds included a Bullfinch, three Nuthatches, five Treecreepers, a Gadwall, nine Little Grebes, five Pochards, 38 Tufted Ducks, five Great Crested Grebes, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Green Woodpecker.