|Siskin ( One of a dozen in the Alder)|
It was beautifully frosty, clear and flat calm when I left the boat today with Venus to the east and both Jupiter and the 60% Moon heading towards the western horizon, I just love these crisp crystal clear mornings.
I deliberately arrived at Brandon Marsh prior to sun up in the hope of catching an Owl or two but a 45 minute vigil overlooking Sheepfield proved fruitless, save for 4 Jay, Common Buzzard and hunting Kestrel.
Shortly after Sheepfield I met up with Derek Bennett and we spent a little time watching a Goldcrest plus a number of Fieldfare and Redwing demolishing one of the Hawthorns now only half laden with berries. Martin Durkin soon joined us and we made our way along the usual route through New Hare Covert, past Newlands and on to Wright Hide.
The first excitement of the day was the unusual sight of a Bittern flying in quite high from the North-East. The bird flew over the covert before disappearing, appearing to descend towards the Newlands reed bed, which makes me think that this could well have been a new arrival.
Plenty of birds on the wing this morning with several flocks of Woodpigeon, Redwing, Siskin, Starling and Fieldfare, the latter of which were in good numbers with one flock containing around 60 or so birds. A first look at a very quiet East Marsh Pool had a couple of ♂Goldeneye, 5 Wigeon, various numbers of Tufted, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall but only 2 Snipe. Two Kingfishers were also present but no sign of the recent ♀Smew at this stage.
|♀Smew (Poor Record Shot!)|
The fun came when we arrived at the Central Marsh Path where both Ken Sherlock and Keith Forster suddenly appeared having attempted to get down to Big Hide, unable to do so due to the rising water. Not to be defeated both Martin and I bit the bullet and wellies on managed to get through leaving the other wuss's to retreat to Wright Hide, great having the place to ourselves! Even better after opening the hide flaps and there fast asleep in the corner was the ♀Smew.
A visit to Carlton Hide, where on route a good number of Siskin and Redpoll were feeding in the Alder near the ditch, plus 2 ♂Bullfinch and a small Tit flock which produced 8 Long-tailed Tit and a single Willow.
Finally back to Big Hide before the rain arrived. Here the rest of gang had now joined us and we all enjoyed more superb views of the ♀Smew, plus a cameo visit from a Little Egret, which dropped in onto Newlands briefly before heading off east.
Other Notables: Linnet (2), Goldfinch (8), Nuthatch (2), Sparrowhawk (2), Skylark (2 over), GS Woodpecker (2), Song Thrush (1), Cetti's Warbler (3 heard), Water Rail (2 heard), Common Gull (6), Herring Gull (1)