Lade - 0730hrs - Cold, sunny, dry, ne 5/6 - One of the great things about local patch birding is the element of surprise which at time defies logic. Take this morning for example, once I returned from the land of the fairies and went out into the blast-chiller I reckoned on another duff hour slogging into the wind seeing very little. But, hey-ho, it is April after all, so there has to be birds out there somewhere. Anyhow at the bottom of Taylor Road a scan across the storm beaches revealed a male Black Redstart and a Stonechat on a patch of gorse scrub. Walking round the lee side a bird flitted out and immediately dived back into cover; mmm, a short wait and out popped a Firecrest! The day was made, one of me favourites. Continuing onto south pit and at first glance a birdless lake with white-topped waves, but just out from the bank, in bright sunshine, there was a summer plum Black-necked Grebe, simply stunning, and all within a 10 minute walk from the cottage! It was then back home to do the guests breakfasts, I`d only been out for 30 minutes and bagged two cracking local patch birds.
RSPB - 1400hrs - A mooch around the bird reserve started on the causeway road where 5 Black-tailed Godwits were busily feeding in the shallows on ARC along with 2 Ringed Plovers and a Redshank. All the usual dabbling ducks in the shelter of the willows and a couple of Goldeneyes. On the far side of the pit sheltering from the wind was a splendid flock of 9 Goosanders, including 3 drakes, a bird that has been in short supply this past winter. On New Diggings another summer plum Black-necked Grebe. Along the access track 2 Wheatears (sorry about the pic SG, but the award has been made!), 100 Redwings, 50 Wigeon and 50 Goldies over. Not much on Burrowes apart from 3 Smew and a few Goldeneyes. Wandered down to Hookers to check the back track but the wind was so strong you could hardly stand upright. The expected Marsh Harriers were struggling too and a Bittern flopped over, while the 6 Bean Geese remained in the back field. From Screen hide 2 Great White Egret and more common wildfowl.