Lade - 0730hrs - misty, nippy start, brighter by mid-day, w2 - After the heatwave of yesterday (17C in London) it was back to more normal temperatures this morning; even requiring hat-and-gloves first off. Chiffchaff and Goldcrest in the garden kick-started the day well, followed by 2 Woodcocks inadvertently flushed from the storm beaches on the way over to the pits. Was surprised to see them as been a week or so since the last but they probably got lost in the mist last night. One flew well away towards the Trapping Area, while the other one dived down into someones back garden along the coast road! When all`s said and done with this odd winter (mild start with an influx of Short-eared Owls - not many wild swans and geese - where have all the Barn Owls gone - a cold finish with loads of Smews, Goosanders, Woodcocks and a Sea-eagle!) Woodcock will be one bird I`ll remember it for, and smart birds they are too, such a shame that over 100,000 are shot in Britain each winter, surely they deserve a better reception in this day and age...
However, I digress, had to get over the pits sharpish because there was a film crew about to take over the place for the next couple of days; something to do with 2 women, set in the 60`s, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis... Anyhow, all the usual wildfowl present including a pair of courting Shelducks and 8 Goldeneyes. Two harriers were soaring above the airport while Great Tits, Chaffinches and Cetti`s Warblers were all in fine voice.
ARC - By now the sun was shining and several Reed Buntings were singing, along with more of the same as at Lade. A noisy gang of 30 odd Tree/House Sparrows was quarrelling in the big bush by the car park, while a Cettis`s Warbler showed well from Hanson, plus Long-tailed Tits and Chiffchaff. Out on the water 3 Pintails, 2 Smews, 4 Shelducks, 6 Golden Plovers, 15 Curlews, a Blackwit and several hundred Lapwings amongst the regular ducks. Several Cormorants were back on the main island and a Little Egret was in front of Screen. At least 3 Marsh Harriers noted including the `yellow-fronted old lady`. Had a natter with PB and on the walk back to the car a Bittern flew over from Boulderwall.
Greatstone Beach - A quick look from the tavern this afternoon noted 6 of the regular beach wader species including 50 Knots.