I visited New Hythe today and the sunshine and light winds that prevailed during the morning left me in no doubt that a corner had been turned. I know the weekend was nice but where I was in Hampshire and Dorset there was a very chilly wind which really kept the temperatures down.
Anyway, I was really hoping to see my first Sand Martin of the year passing through or hawking for early insects over the lakes. In 2008 my first New Hythe sighting was on 17th March and for 2009 was on 19th March so I really was "on a wing and a prayer" as they say and unfortunately the prayer wasn't answered today. I did add a year tick for NH though in the shape of an Oystercatcher which Alan spotted as we walked up the river path. Sparrowhawk also made an appearance here as well as a single Redshank and a couple of Shelduck.
In the corner of Abbey Mead lake we found two very vocal and showy Kingfishers which made a few high level flyovers in what I presumed to be part of a courtship display. While watching this a Chiffchaff made a brief appearance in the bushes to the side but wasn't heard singing. Unfortunately there was no sign of the two Wigeon seen on the lake a day or two earlier, they really are giving me the runaround so far this year.
Not a single Fieldfare or Redwing on the East or West Scrub or anywhere else on the site for that matter. I guess sightings of these will become fewer and fewer now as we move into April but they did a good job of entertaining us through the winter months and now will be moving back to their own breeding grounds, in Scandinavia I believe.
The warm sunshine also bought out a few Bee species today and I also spotted my first Brimstone butterfly of the year along the Millstream path, unfortunately it was far too busy to allow more than a fleeting glimpse let alone a photograph.