Lade - mild, cloudy, damp, NE 2 - Well, what a let down, as usual the Met Office over-egged the pudding on the snow forecast for last night (we had a bit of wet snow about 0100hrs which soon turned to rain) so rather than wake up this morning to a blanket of the white stuff, instead it was dull and dreary with drizzle. A fine way to start the new month.
It was a case of, `as you were on the lakes` with the same low numbers of wintering ducks and all the usual waders on the bay. Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and Water Rail were seen around the willow swamp; also, a few more passerines noted on our morning round including a handful of Linnets, two Stonechats and a Reed Bunting.
The omnipresent Hedge Sparrows (as they were known when I was a nipper) had found their voices this morning, with several delivering jaunty, jangly songs from atop fence posts and scrub in preparation for marking out forthcoming breeding territories. I always think the Dunnock is a bit like a Gadwall really; rather undistinguished but with a kaleidoscopic plumage comprising greys, browns, blacks and buffs, and largely ignored by birders. What they lack on the plumage front though is more than made up for by a complex sex life, which would put Fleetwood Mac to shame!
Elsewhere around Dungeness these past couple of days there has been little change from the usual wintering species on the bird reserve, plus the Whooper and Bewick`s Swans in rape-seed fields at Cockle`s Bridge and Horses Bones Farm respectively, three/four Cattle Egrets in the fields between Boulderwall and Lydd, but still no sign of any Smew on the gravel pit lakes.