Lade - 0900hrs - mild, sunny, sw 2 - It`s that time of the month again to get out the abacus and count wildfowl and harriers. First off the local patch and what a treat it was to be out and about with blue skies, sunshine and light airs replacing the wind and rain of the past week.
Although duck numbers in general are already starting to decline a count of 220 Teal was noteworthy; many of the drakes were displaying to the ducks as were the male Goldeneyes to a small harem of redheads. A Slavonian Grebe on the far side of north lake was the first of the winter. Also noted Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and a Bittern that flew over the main reedbed. For the first time since I`ve lived here the water level has now risen flooding the causeway so that the two lake are joined.
Walland Marsh - 1600hrs - Accompanied Marshman on the monthly harrier count on a stunning afternoon with barely a breath of wind. A large mixed flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings were on the flooded fields while two Common Buzzards looked on trying to work out whether or not a meal was in the offing. There were few small birds again with only a handful of Reed Buntings and Blackbirds noted. Following a call from PB we were alerted to a flock of four Little Gulls on a flood, eventually they flew over us and headed west just before dusk, a rare sighting indeed here.
At the roost site 21 Marsh Harriers came in over a 35 minute period that included four adult males and the distinctive white-fronted adult female. Also noted Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Barn Owl, four Pintails, six Shelducks and a pair of Mistle Thrush, while Bearded Tits and Water Rails called from the reedbed.