Lade - cold, cloudy, rain clearing, nw 2 - 0745hrs - A miserable start to the day although it did clear up and by late afternoon even felt quite warm as the wind backed off and the sun came out. South lake continues to attract above average numbers of waterfowl for the time of year with Great Crested and Little Grebes well into double figures and the former already on their floating nests. The only evidence of any migration was a couple of singing Chiffchaffs around the willow swamp.
RSPB - From the causeway road a smart Black-necked Grebe in breeding plumage was on New Diggings and two Goldeneyes on ARC with the usual collection of dabblers and Shelduck. The fields at Boulderwall yielded Curlews, Wigeon, Little and Great White Egrets, Marsh Harrier and Buzzard.
Burrowes still had a wintry feel to it with good numbers of ducks, chiefly Shoveler. I checked hayfields 1 and 2 but could find nothing apart from a couple of Lapwings. On the walk back a Grey Plover flew over calling.
Lade - A mid-afternoon visit to Mockmill revealed several Mipits, Linnets, Reed Buntings and a pair of Stonechats. South lake was smothered in Black-headed Gulls snapping up emerging insects in the warmth, but there was no sign of a hoped for hirundine.
ps: The first Garganey of the spring was reported from Dengemarsh this afternoon, viewable from Springfield Bridge (SB).
There was a good turn out at the Pilot pub this evening to say a fond farewell to Heather Chantler who recently departed Dungeness RSPB for pastures new. Heather`s expertise, knowledge and sunny disposition will be sorely missed around the visitors centre and it was good to see her on fine form after a recent illness. All the very best for the future H.