Lade - cold, dry, sunny - Following the freezing fog of yesterday, and resultant birding inertia, it was good to see the eventual return of blue skies and sunshine this morning. Walking across the shingle in the stillness I could hear the magical sound of Bewick`s Swans leaving their roost on ARC and flying out to feed on the Marsh. The lakes hereabouts remain frozen and as a result were largely free of wildfowl, although a couple of thousand gulls were roosting on the frozen surface of south lake.
Walland Marsh - After picking up Clare and Peter from Ashford station (down from London for a three day bird watching break) we headed out across the Marsh pausing first at Warehorne village where the bird feeders were alive with finches, tits and `chupping` Tree Sparrows in the bushes. From the bridge we scanned the canal noting a Green Sandpiper and six Little Egrets, plus winter thrushes in the fields, a single Yellowhammer and several Common Buzzards.
At Scotney our targets were geese and farmland birds. From the double bends three Pink-feet, two Tundra Bean and a flock of 30 White-fronted Geese were all logged along with the usual feral Greylags, Barnacles and the like, plus Redshank, Turnstone and Lapwings while a stunning drake Goosander was on the pit near Brett`s workings. Out back more wildfowl included 50 Shelducks, six Pintails and eight Egyptian Geese, several Curlews, a male Peregrine sat on a pylon, two Marsh Harriers, two Stonechats, 15 Pied Wagtails, 20 Corn Buntings, five Reed Buntings, Skylark, Mipit and a single Lapland Bunting near the dung heap.
ARC - We finished the afternoon from Hanson hide where there was still much ice on the lake. All the usual ducks and grebes were present plus a `white nun` Smew, several Great White Egrets going to roost, two Marsh Harriers, a Chiffchaff and vocalising Cetti`s Warbler and Water Rail.