Lade - 0900hrs - cold, overcast, ne 2 - Didn`t feel quite as cold this morning due to lighter winds, although it picked up by late afternoon, and was very dull throughout. We had a good look around the local patch where virtually the first bird was a stunning drake Red-breasted Merganser on south pit. It spent a lot of time preening furiously and I wondered whether it was slightly oiled, although it did make a short flight across the lake just before I got off a few record shots. Mergansers are scarce on the pits hereabouts and this is only my third record at Lade. Elsewhere, 5 Goldeneyes on each pit, a Bittern skulking in a reedbed and 3 Marsh Harriers over.
Walland Marsh - 1400hrs - A pause on the causeway road en-route yielded 200 Shovelers on ARC and a Great White Egret on New Diggings. A recce across the Marsh this afternoon, in the company of MH, for tomorrows visiting birders was worthwhile. Several large flocks of Fieldfares and Lapwings scattered here and there and plenty of Blackbirds along the lanes. The wild swan flock was still in situ at Midley (but for how much longer?) and the grey geese were near the Woolpack. The usual passerines on the feeders and a Common Buzzard noted, but negative news on the Grey Partridges near Lydd.
ARC - A Merlin flew across the road as we approached ARC. From Hanson 5 Smew (including a drake) amongst the diving ducks and a pair of Goldeneyes close to the hide. We then noted a trio of Goosanders on the far side of the lake including a drake; apparently they were on Burrowes earlier. Goosanders have been scarce this winter and what with the Merganser at Lade it`s not very often you get a clean sweep of the sawbills in one day.