Lade - cold, frosty, sunny, light airs - These past couple of mornings have delivered sparkling light over a frosty landscape, with a -2C air frost last night (rare down here by the sea) finally delivering the coup-de-grace to window-box geraniums, and icing over the garden pond for the first time in three years.
We spent the morning on the local patch where two thirds of both lakes were iced over, a most unusual sight. The Slavonian Grebe was absent for the second day running, presumed moved to Long Pits/New Diggings. An Avocet roosting on the ice amongst a flock of gulls on north lake was the highlight, plus a Great White Egret on the back fields, where a few Snipe, Skylarks, Mipits and Reed Buntings present. With yesterdays pair of Whooper Swans that briefly dropped onto the flood at Boulderwall (CP) in mind we checked the fields at Lade north, but all was quiet. Several Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard also noted around the site, plus 255 Curlews at roost, 6 Redshanks, 2 Kingfishers, Cetti`s Warbler, Water Rail, Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and at least 4 Foxes warming up on the shingle ridges.
Late this afternoon we returned to Mockmill for a roost watch where a distant Barn Owl quartered the fields behind the `mirrors`. A few Marsh Harriers drifted over towards the bird reserve, plus 2 Great White and 5 Little Egrets, but only a few corvids and Woodpigeons. Finished the day with flight views of a Bittern moving between reedbeds.
As the temperature plummeted we headed for home and the fire. Another brilliant winters day in the field, with just me and the dog, and all within walking distance of the cottage.