Lade - 0730hrs - mild, cloudy, e 2 - Virtually the first overhead migrant heard this morning en-route to the pits was a Brambling, my first of the year, and most welcome it was too, if only I was keeping a Marsh year list... Anyhow, a few Siskins followed, plus a couple of Redpolls, two Song Thrushes, a Skylark and up to 100 Goldfinches in a 30 minute viz mig, pretty poor fare really. Grounded migrants were even fewer with just a scattering of Robins, Mipits, Linnets and Blackbirds.
However, scanning from the aerial mound two Grey Wagtails fed along the margins of south lake while Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were all up and about hunting behind the wall mirror. A party of Swallows dipped in hurrying south and a pair of Shelducks dropped onto the lake.
At 0820hrs things really bucked up as our `resident` Osprey flapped leisurely in from Greatstone way alongside an entourage of gulls, Jackdaws and Starlings, presumably from its roost site, wherever that may be? This also coincided with the Curlew flock coming off the bay to sit out the high tide making for a sudden sky full of birds as the ducks deserted the water and joined in the melee. The fish hawk then promptly plunged into the lake for its morning ablutions! After it was thoroughly soaked through it then rose up from the water, shook itself vigorously and flew over north lake setting all the gulls off again. Twenty minutes later it returned to snatch a hefty carp from just below the surface while hardly wetting its undercarriage, after which it flew off to feed. Not bad for a beginner.
Dengemarsh Gully - 1430 - This afternoon we walked the gully from top to bottom and back again with very little in return apart from a handful of Robins, Wrens and Blackbirds and three Buzzards. I`m thinking of renaming this place Desolation Gully as it hardly ever delivers for me, although in the past there have been one or two decent birds. Anyhow, this is one of Barney`s favourite walks and at least he enjoyed it.
On the way home we called in at the Kerton Road Café for a cuppa and a Boneo, and to check on a dead thrush that had crashed into the café window, just in case it was a Swainson`s or a Grey-cheeked. Well, you never know...