I had it in mind to go to Dungeness today but decided against it when I saw the snow again this morning so I went down to New Hythe for a couple of hours. There wasn't much to get excited about really but I did manage to add another five species to the year list and it was a very nice walk in calm, sunny but cold conditions. Some of the lakes are quite frozen again and the birds are all wing to wing in whatever ice free areas are available. I was greeted by a solitary starling (48) in the car park at brookland, should have got that one on new years day. The river was quite low when I arrived so I was able to find a couple of redshank, lots of teal and several lapwings from the small wood before moving on and picking up a cock pheasant (49) from the sunken marsh which nearly gave me a heart attack as it launched itself noisily from the side of the path, a stock dove (50) also flew over here. I walked up the railway path adjacent to Abbey Mead lake next and was really pleased to find a treecreeper (51) at the end of the path just before you turn right to go over the railway line. This is the first time I've seen one on this side of the railway, all others have been in the country park itself. Nothing of note across the scrubs except the ubiquitous robins.
I stood opposite the bittern reedbed for a while and took the photo of streamside and then walked through the wooded area and out on to the wide millstream path heading north for a quick scan of the scrape, as I did so I noticed a man and a woman on the path ahead. He was standing looking through his bins and she was sitting on her haunches on the path alongside him with pink leggings on..........as I got closer the man lowered his bins, saw me, now about 30 feet away, and nudged the woman, who stood up quickly and pulled her trousers etc. up and I realised the pink leggings were her legs and she was having a wee right on the open path! All very embarrassing but I managed to keep a straight face, that is until I drew level and the man turned to me looked at my binoculars and said "good morning, seen anything interesting?"
Bumped into Alan Roman and together we checked the area around the dipping pond for stonechat (one seen at the weekend I believe) and meadow pipits, neither of which obliged today. Alan and I went our separate ways at the divers' footbridge and on the way back over to Abbey Mead I picked up a small flock of bullfinches (52), I scanned the lake here for the smew but couldn't see it although I understand that it was there, I must have still been in shock! The next sighting was a man coming out of the sunken marsh carrying a very large scythe, I didn't approach him for fear that he may have been the grim reaper.....................interesting morning.