Lade - mild, cloudy, WSW 5 - The buffeting wind along with two hunting Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard made for difficult conditions for the monthly WeBS count as the duck flock`s swirled over the wetlands. Of note were decent counts of Teal and Wigeon in contrast to just a handful of Coot and not a single grebe as follows: Teal 325, Shoveler 210, Wigeon 110, Pochard 156, Tufted Duck 120, Gadwall 22, Mallard 15, Coot 11, Goldeneye 2. The causeway between the two lakes was flooded preventing access to the swing-bridge, while most of the wildfowl were on north lake.
Moving onto the bird reserve where there was a good turnout of birders due to the unprecedented presence of two Great Northern Divers and a single Black-throated Diver on Burrowes, plus a supporting cast of a Slavonian Grebe and the `resident` adult Little Gull. The two knuckle-headed divers were at the top of the lake and continually diving whilst I was there, while the Black-throat was far more obliging close to Dennis`s viewpoint. Whilst chatting to Stephen M in the car park a female Black Redstart posed briefly on one of the picnic tables.
This afternoon I joined Chris P for the monthly harrier count out on Walland Marsh, which did not bode well considering how windy it was. However, a total of 23 Marsh Harriers eventually settled down to roost in the reedbed along with two gorgeous male Hen Harriers, one a sub-adult, the other a full male, the former putting on a superb show. Also noted during our stakeout: two Common Buzzards, a Merlin, a Peregrine, a Raven, several Skylarks, Great White and Little Egrets and calling Water Rail and Cetti`s Warblers. As the light faded hundreds of Greylag Geese flew overhead to roost alongside seven Whooper Swans (a family party of five and a pair of adults, probably the two from ARC), but the spectacle of the watch was provided by thousands of Starlings swirling over the flatlands, hither and thither to their respective roost sites and a fantastic ending to a brilliant birding day on the Marsh.