Lade - mild, sunny, S 3 - The spring-like weather continues apace with the southerly airflow delivering Saharan dust to coat cars and slick windows hereabouts along with orange sunrises and daytime temperatures peaking at 14C. Yesterday evening two small bats were hawking insects around the tops of the garden fir trees, so I fired up the moth trap full of optimism only to have a blank canvas this morning; but with the next few nights looking to stay mildish I will persevere, despite not having much luck in the past catching `early moths`. On the local patch three singing Chiffchaffs in the willow swamp were the first of the year, as was a high-flying Sandwich Tern off the bay that only betrayed its presence by its rasping call before heading towards the bird reserve. At least ten more Great Crested Grebes had moved onto south lake, hopefully to pair off and breed, while Dabchicks trilled energetically from reedbeds across the site. Marsh Harriers were much in evidence taking advantage of thermals bouncing off the shingle to soar way up towards the cloud base alongside a couple of Buzzards. Early flowering spurges, snowdrops, daffodils and coltsfoot were a sure sign that better times are ahead.
An afternoon visit to the bird reserve produced the usual stuff on the Boulderwall fields including plenty of Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal and feral geese, plus two Shelducks, five Curlews, two Redshanks, several Marsh Harriers, a swirling mass of Starlings, Great White and Little Egrets and the wintering Glossy Ibis. Burrowes held hundreds of Cormorants, gulls, grebes, Coots and common wildfowl along with five Goldeneyes, while there was more of the same over the road on ARC.