Lade - 0730hrs - cold, overcast, ne 3 - A truncated days birding today due to a family gathering in Brighton. However, an hour wandering around counting wildfowl delivered all the usual ducks, plus hunting harriers and a Ringed Plover over and an extraordinary encounter with an Avocet (141st Marsh year tick). March is when Avocets move north to breed from their wintering grounds in Iberia and are regularly seen on passage off Dungeness from now into April; but on the pits they are scarce-ish in spring, mainly due to the high water levels ensuring a lack of suitable shallows. Anyhow, I heard the distinctive, `klute-klute` call of an Avocet and as the bird flew around the lake looking for somewhere to land it suddenly plonked down on the water amongst the Coots! After a few seconds with the Coots off it flew again, calling, and joined the roosting Black-headed Gulls floating around on the middle of the lake, where it stayed until I left site. Birding never ceases to surprise me.
NB: Whilst off the Marsh today a steady stream of texts came through telling of the 1st Sand Martin and White Wagtail of the year on the bird reserve, plus the reappearance of the two Penduline Tits on Dengemarsh.