Virtual silhouette of a Blackcap
The morning group saw 52 species, which must be one of the highest tallies for any of the locations we visit at this time of year. A single Pink-footed Goose was probably the scarcest bird, but the 'students' were more charmed by the hundreds of Swallows & Sand Martins - their 1st of the year. The Shelduck were getting amorous, as were the lower numbers of Shoveler & Pochard. The early arriving songbirds put on a fine show despite the very cold temperatures - star performers were Willow Warblers, Blackcaps & Chiffchaffs. However, we also heard a very early Sedge Warbler, which was just in a bramble patch just under one hide, but was very difficult to see. A pair of Kestrels were courting in O Woods and even hung round one of the owl boxes; and, apart from a Barn Owl in the morning were the only raptors we saw. 2 of the morning group remained behind and were rewarded by a redhead Smew. There was no sign of the Kingfishers, which may have perished during the winter. The biggest response was elicited by the appearance of a young family of Greylag Geese, this was despite my pointing out what they turn into! - I suppose they aren't quite as bad as Canada Geese. The pair of Ruddy Ducks were also commented on, but the students have asked me to keep their presence quiet, as they want them to escape DEFRA's bullets! The only waders seen were a Redshank and an Oystercatcher, but the 2 Roe Deer under the Barn Owl boxes, were something you don't see at this venue every day. It was a perishing day, and the sun didn't really burst through until we were on the way home!