Lade - mild, dry and sunny, w 2 - After a wet start the clouds cleared to some welcome sunshine, blue skies and lighter winds than of late. Everywhere remains sodden though, which is unusual down here on the shingle as it normally drains away quickly, but on the lakes the water level has risen above the No 8 mark, whatever that means... Still, on the bright side now we`ve past the winter Solstice every day will get that little bit longer.
We spent our field time this weekend all over the local patch, including walking the length of the beach north to Littlestone where there was nothing much to report, and south to the gravel pits at Kerton Road where three Shelduck were present. The lakes at Lade held the usual wildfowl including 160 Teal which is a good count for here, but otherwise it was the usual stuff. One noteworthy incident concerned an adult female Marsh Harrier working the southern edge of the willow swamp that suddenly jinked down and came up with which looked like a smallish, long-bodied mammal wriggling like mad - my best guess would`ve been a Weasel. A late afternoon scan from the Desert revealed the expected procession of corvids and pigeons to roost, plus four Marsh Harriers.
Talking of the local patch, if you`ve not done so already check out Ellie Goulding`s version on www.youtube.com of the Christmas song `River` which was filmed hereabouts last month. It`s a Joni Mitchell classic, of course, from `71 that has been much covered down the years and while Ms Goulding makes a decent fist of it the original reigns supreme for me.