After all the reports of singing Nightingales, Lesser Whitethroats, Common Whitethroats, Cuckoos etc. etc. showing up at New Hythe lately I thought i'd go down this morning for a couple of hours and fill my boots. It was overcast and grey and windy and the cold was making my breath vapourise, looking like I was back on the Capstan Full Strength and by the time I finished I wished I was! These were the highlights.
Green Sandpiper flying across the river from the small wood. Two Oystercatchers from further upstream along with Greylag and Canada Goose over. From and around the Sunken Marsh Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and a Whitethroat sang half heartedly but denied me the opportunity to visually confirm their identity. A Sedge Warbler sang from a reedbed frustratingly close to the southern edge of the Marsh, we also failed to see eye to eye despite some of my finest fieldcraft techniques. These involved hiding behind a small Hawthorn bush just off the main path and remaining absolutely still, Heron like and not breathing (my vapourised breath would betray my presence). I felt sure this would work and I believe it would have done if a man and a woman and a Black Labrador hadn't come round the corner forcing me to sidle back out sheepishly, fearful of being misunderstood. It's funny how these situations makes you feel guilty even when you're completely innocent.
Abbey Mead was host to a good sized flock of Swallows and Sand Martins which livened up the proceedings and from there I crossed the East Scrub to visit the Brook House Nightingale choir. Needless to say they didn't play ball, or sing, or anything else for that matter. I left there with a heavy heart and frozen fingers and made my way over the deserted West Scrub.
The final walk back along the river with Dennis and Doreen added two Shelduck, a couple of Teal, a glimpse of a Blackcap, a single Long Tailed Tit and a Cock Pheasant. That was it, no new Spring migrants to add to my New Hythe list and a hard earned 37 species in all.
Today, it felt like Spring had sprung and had then sprung back again!