Lade - 1030hrs - Mild, sunny, w 2 - An almost spring-like morning induced many resident passerines into song both in the garden and around the pits. Gave the local patch the full treatment today and it responded accordingly with a wide range of birds including 2 Great White Egrets, Kingfisher, Water Rail, Bittern, Reed Bunting, Cetti`s Warbler and Chiffchaff in and around the willow swamp, plus the Black-throated Diver on north pit along with 8 Goldeneyes and all the usual wildfowl. The rough grassland behind the `mirrors` yielded scores of Curlews, Stock Doves, corvids and Lapwings, a few Golden Plovers, 2 Stonechats, Green and Greater peckers, Skylark, Mipit, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and a Merlin. On the walk back along the foreshore 8 species of shorebirds and a lone Brent noted and best of all as I stepped through the back gate at home a pair of Ravens `cronking` overhead made for species number 67 for the local patch.
Dengemarsh - The flooded fields near Boulderwall have been good of late with hundreds of Curlews, feral geese, Wigeons, Stock Doves and the like. This morning 5 Tundra Bean Geese (gone by late afternoon) had joined the throng and were associating with the 7 Barnacles. Also noted during two visits today were up to 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and a Peregrine; the latter briefly causing everything to take flight. Two Great Whites and a Little Egret were on show as was a Bittern creeping around the margins of Cooks Pool. All the usual tits and sparrows on the feeders, another Stonechat and some winter thrushes made for a grand total of 81 species of birds at two sites all within two miles of home.
PS: Thanks to David Walker for identifying the insect found crawling across our patio today as a Western Conifer Seed Bug (having seen a couple at the Obs in the past I really should have known what it was). Apparently, they arrived in Europe as recently as 1999, in Italy, probably in a consignment of imported timber from North America and have quickly spread across the continent (2008 saw the first major influx into southern Britain). Interesting time of year for such a beastie to be active though and DW suspected it may have arrived on yesterdays strong southerlies.