First stop today was the little copse between Brooklands lake and the river, this gives good views upstream and a more limited view downstream towards the mill. The tide was quite low enabling a little egret to fish the shallows around a partially exposed island while two redshanks probed the mud on the near bank. On the opposite bank two grey wagtails bounced along the margins in the morning sun making occasional forays over the water to catch insects, overhead a loose flock of 39 lapwings wheeled around in different directions as if undecided as to which direction to head and a kingfisher hurtled downstream piping loudly.
The sunken marsh was dominated by thrushes, fieldfare the most numerous, chacking noisily when disturbed, followed by redwing and a few song thrushes. Also good numbers of blackbirds in the marsh and across the whole site at the moment. The river adjacent to the sunken marsh held good numbers of teal, another redshank and a reed bunting, several jays were also noted flying across the river. The footpath heads roughly south here and the low sun makes it difficult to see too much on the water I think I need to reverse my route at this time of year.
Nothing out of the ordinary on Abbey Mead, I couldn't locate the wigeon that Alan Woodcock reported on his blog the other day so maybe they've moved on. A couple of gadwall, two little grebe, at least six great crested grebe and the usual sleeping pochard stood out from the hordes of coot and tufties.
Golfinch, dunnock, green woodpecker and a hunting kestrel graced a waterlogged east scrub with just the odd fieldfare and redwing making up the numbers but I was pleased to see a couple of mistle thrushes down the brook house track, the first for me for some time and two flyover rooks another uncommon bird here for most of the year.
On the way back I found four little grebe in the south west corner of Brookland lake all feeding together, I tried to creep up on them to get a photo but they clocked me instantly. A little further on I heard a squeal from the undergrowth and a rabbit shot out and ran up the path at great speed in front of me, I instantly thought stoat so I stood still and made a noise like a mouse in distress and sure enough out popped the stoat to investigate, I managed to get it to about nine feet away from me but as I raised the camera he realised he'd been had and scarpered back into the scrub. They've got good hearing but not too brilliant sight, i've managed to get stoats and weasels almost to my feet on occasions but I can never get a picture unfortunately.