Lade - mild, rain clearing to sunshine, sw 6 - Another good old dollop of overnight rain left all the roads and tracks hereabouts well and truly flooded; and there I was moaning about the drought a month ago! However, by late morning the rain cleared away to allow a very tasty couple of hours birding on the local patch.
The first Smew of the winter was the main prize, and joy upon joy it was a lone drake freshly arrived and moving all over the site, as is their want. Initially seen by visiting birders earlier on south lake, I eventually tracked it down sheltering from the tempest in a back channel reedbed near the swing bridge. The beauty of a `white nun` within the wildfowl tribe is unsurpassed, a truly stunning beast and a fine example of Mother Nature pulling out all the stops. "Its only a white and black duck", I hear you say, but the white bits shine like a beacon on a dull day, and as for those vermiculations on the flanks, well...
Despite the howling gale the Long-tailed Duck seemed undaunted as it fished the far side of south lake alongside a dozen Goldeneyes, while the Slavonian Grebe sought the calmer waters of north lake. Also noted this morning around the willow swamp, Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, Water Rail, Sparrowhawk, Cetti`s Warbler, Goldcrest and a noticeable increase in Chaffinches.
On the bird reserve today the Black-throated Diver was reported on ARC, along with a pair of Goosanders, while the Glaucous Gull was seen again on Burrowes.