Saturday - Lade - cool and cloudy, n 2 - A lot milder than of late and with lighter winds the weather was ideal for a good look around the local patch. Behind the `mirrors` the rough pasture attracted a flock of 50 Linnets, several Mipits and Skylarks and two Common Buzzards, but no sign of yesterdays Rough-legged variety. The lakes were fairly quiet on the wildfowl front with just two Goldeneyes of note, while the recent Slavonian Grebe was still present.
There seemed to be an influx of Water Rails as virtually every patch of reeds had a squealing bird. Two broke cover and flew across open water by the main track, and I did wonder if the three Marsh Harriers flopping around in the main reed bed were hunting rails? Around the willow swamp plenty more rail vocalisation was underway, plus Cetti`s Warbler, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and a number of Blackbirds.
We hit the beach as the tide was ebbing and rattled up the usual ten species as they returned to feed, plus 30 Black-tailed Godwits, an unusual bird here. Also on the sands, three Brent Geese, four Shelducks and at least 500 Great Black-backed Gulls.
Sunday - mild and cloudy, w 2 - A superb morning on the local patch with a noticeable change of wildfowl from yesterday. The star of the show was a female Long-tailed Duck that frustratingly stayed well out in the middle of south lake and, as is the case when they first arrive, spent most of its time diving for fish. The last one I had here was 10 years ago, so a welcome record.
There were some good back up birds too. A flock of eight redhead Goosanders that after a bout of frantic feeding eventually settled down on the far side of the lake to preen and roost. Goldeneyes were up to eight in number, including three cracking, head-tossing drakes, plus the Slavonian Grebe, now in its second week showing well around the scaffold island. Wigeon, Shoveler and Pochard had all increased in numbers overnight.
Other birds of note around the site included an adult Yellow-legged Gull amongst 1,000 Black-backs and Herring Gulls roosting on the water, two Marsh Harriers working the reedbeds, plenty of vocalising Water Rails, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Cetti`s Warbler, Stonechat and Green Woodpecker.
On Friday I collected my recently repaired bridge camera from Hythe Camera Shop (brilliant service as usual) and put it through its paces over the weekend.