Lade - 0800hrs - mild, cloudy, w 3 - Following the excesses of yesterday (a family gathering and marathon food and drink fest in Hertfordshire) was good to get out and about around the local patch this morning, in what was relatively mild weather conditions for the time of year. First surprise was a big increase in Teal numbers since my last visit and I counted at least 540, which is exceptional for here; perhaps a cold weather movement off the continent, but whatever the reason they are most welcome. Other wildfowl included 3 Shelducks, 2 Goldeneye and a redhead Smew. Couldn't find the Long-tailed Duck but whilst walking across the causeway to the swing bridge Barney flushed an irate Bittern out of one of the small reedbeds, and a short while later a second bird flew across the pit at the far end. Other padders noted were Kingfisher, Jay, Greater pecker, Chiffchaff, Water Rail and Cetti`s Warbler, also Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine, while on the walk back across the storm beaches, a Woodcock, courtesy of the dog again.
RSPB - 1400hrs - On arrival at the visitors centre a Ring-necked Duck had been reported this afternoon, so strolled down with DW to New Excavations where a drake bird was asleep within a pack of Tufted Ducks. There was some talk of it being a hybrid, but from what we could see it looked the real deal on shape and plumage, although I only had the briefest views of the bill, and was a nice surprise on a dreary winters afternoon. On Burrowes, 2 Great White Egrets, 8 Pintail and singles of redhead Smew and Goosander amongst the legions of ducks.
Checked out a local harrier roost where 3 Marsh Harriers came to roost. Also in the area, Barn Owl, Merlin, Great White Egret and another Bittern.
ps: 30 and 20 odd Waxwings were reported today from Hammonds Corner, between Lydd and New Romney and Johnson`s Corner, Hamstreet, respectively. While at Dungeness Little Auk and Pomarine Skua were noted (per DW).