Lade - 0800hrs - Mild, sunny, sw 2 - What a difference a day makes with the sun shining and light airs making for pleasant conditions all round. Raptors were much in evidence over the pits this morning with 3 Marsh Harriers and two each of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel taking advantage of the break in the weather. Plenty of Teal and Shovelers on the water and a Kingfisher noted in the willows.
By the time I`d got back home the warm sunshine had elevated temperatures into low double figures centigrade with steam rising off any piece of saturated wood. While this `heat wave` was underway I noticed several House Sparrows clinging to side wall of the building next door. At first I thought they were picking insects out of the joints in the brick work, or maybe gritting, but on closer inspection reckoned they were just simply enjoying the warmth bouncing off the bricks.
Dering Wood, Pluckley - Having dropped a certain 2 year old off at reindeer world I skived off to Dering Wood with Barney for a quick couple of hours birding. Woods are generally quiet places in the dead of winter and this one was no different. However, a few Jays were logged along with Bullfinches, Treecreepers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel and Buzzard. Best of all was a flushed Woodcock and 2 Marsh Tits within a roving tit flock.
On the way home across Shirley Moor there were at least 10 Bewick`s Swans in a flock of 50 Mutes feeding on a rape-seed field.
The other piece of local news today concerned a small flock of Waxwings flying along the coast at Greatstone (OL).