A lovely cold, bright and frosty morning, if winter stayed like this I wouldn't mind.
I heard yesterday of up to 2,500 Fieldfares flying over New Hythe lakes over the course of a couple of hours so I thought i'd better get down there and check out the visible migration for myself. But as ever, no two birding days are the same. How many times have you heard the phrase "you should have been here yesterday". And so was the case today, with just a few small flocks of Fieldfares heading from the NE and flying over the Brooklands area along with a few Mistle Thrushes and some small flocks of Starlings which I suppose could be arriving migrants.
I wasn't disappointed though because while watching from the sunken marsh I found my first of two Common Snipe of the winter at NH. I was pleased enough with this addition to the months list but was even happier when I heard a wader calling from the river behind me which turned out to be a Redshank standing on the last piece of available mud left by the rapidly rising tide. This again was the first of the winter and another October tick. I stayed in the area a bit longer and added a brief glimpse of one of several singing Cetti's Warblers as well as a Grey Wagtail heading up river and a Little Grebe on the river. The only raptor seen at this stage was a Kestrel although I also saw a Sparrowhawk causing mayhem among the Wood Pigeon population on my way back and a Common Buzzard that was being mercilessly harrassed by at least 12 Crows Even though it soared away really high as I watched, they still wouldn't desist.
It was time to move on. So I made my way along to the mound and from the higher ground scanned across the bushes in the hope of finding a Bullfinch. But almost immediately I heard the unmistakeable pinging of a Bearded Tit coming from the middle of the sunken marsh. I couldn't believe it. I hurried down the almost vertical side of the mound, somehow managing to keep my base from going over my apex and ran (at my advanced age) along the southern side of the marsh praying that unlike earlier in the week I would actually see this bird, which would be only my second ever at NH. As I neared the far corner I heard the calling getting louder and I saw not one but two Bearded Tits coming towards me and then flying straight over my head.
Excellent! All I could do then was hope that I didn't keel over from a heart attack before I could tell anybody. My legs still ache now as it happens. Nice gentle hobby this birding.
The only other notable sighting was a small group of five Lapwings flying upriver on my return.
Three wader species seen and three raptor species seen. As well as five new October ticks making an unexpected 60 and a NH year tick making a tantalising 98. The only thing I didn't get was any pictures.........so here's one I took earlier of a Wren, in the garden.