Lade - 1000hrs - mild, drizzle, nw 3 - Coming back from an Oysterband gig at Canterbury (Kent Uni campus Sports Hall - the lads put on a decent show despite the crap venue and acoustics) late last night the temperature dropped to -2C on the North Downs. This morning, however, a blanket of cloud had descended across the Marsh elevating the thermometer to a balmy 11C; what crazy, mixed up weather.
Anyhow, today was the monthly WeBS count and we had high hopes of a four figure Coot tally (I`m easily pleased) on the local patch, which was duly smashed at a whopping 1,017 birds. Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard and Teal were all in three figures, plus singles of Pintail and Red Crested Pochard. Quite why the lakes are so attractive to wildfowl at the moment I`m unsure, but chatting to the fisherman I reckon it could be to do with the amount and variety of aquatic vegetation and associated animal matter. Whatever it is the ducks, rails and grebes love it.
Walland Marsh - Accompanied Marshman out on the flatlands for the monthly harrier roost count this afternoon in bright sunshine where a record 31 Marsh Harriers roosted at a private site. Other raptors noted included two Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk; also four White-fronted Geese amongst 100 Greylags, a couple of thousand Starlings, Golden Plovers and Lapwings, 50 Dunlin, 50 Teal, 10 Snipe, a Bittern, five Corn Buntings, 20 Linnets, plus calling Chiffchaff, Water Rail, Cetti`s Warbler and Bearded Tit.
Passing Cockles Bridge on the way home a Barn Owl was hunting along the roadside verge.