Lade - 0900hrs - Mild, showery, sw 3 - Started off with the monthly WeBS count over the pits this morning. Nothing much of particular note on the wildfowl front except 254 Teal and 2 Goosanders which flew in high from the east. Also, yet another Bittern flushed from the ponds, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Water Rail, Cetti`s Warbler and Goldcrest. Over the back hundreds of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, plus 3 Marsh Harriers, Kestrel and Buzzard.
Walland Marsh - 1445hrs - Accompanied Marshman for the monthly harrier count this afternoon. Few winter thrushes seen on the drive out, but plenty of swans grazing the oil-seed greenery. Many of the fields were under water due the recent heavy rains as we squelched our way out to the roost site. Whilst watching a couple of Buzzards and Marsh Harriers tussling with one another a superb male Hen Harrier ghosted over the marsh and 10 Snipe broke cover. The spectacle of the afternoon went to the many thousands of Golden Plovers and Lapwings swirling over the site; the rushing sound of the plovers wings as they raced overhead was phenomenal and they had good reason to be nervous what with a Sparrowhawk and a pair of Peregrines on the wing. Amongst the plovers were at least 100 Dunlins and 10 Ruff. We also had good views of a Bittern flying over the reedbed from where a group of Bearded Tits `pinged` and the wintering Common Crane trumpeted away before flying around for a bit and eventually returning to roost amongst the reeds. The feral geese also added to the spectacle along with flocks of Wigeon and Shoveler.
But we were here to count harriers, and as the daylight faded in they came, 19 in total over a 30 minute period with all the usual faffing about you get at roost sites as they jostled for the best position in the reed bed. On the walk back the evocative sound of Bewick`s Swans coming to roost on the flood was a fitting end to a cracking winters afternoon on Walland Marsh.