HERON, LITTLE EGRET & KINGFISHER
The picture above is of three fishermen, taken at New Hythe on 7th January 2009. I've posted it because I didn't get any pictures today, except a very long distance Buzzard. I did see all of the above three species this morning so it kind of makes sense.
I was joined at the small wood by Martin Coath & Flossie the golden retriever who also bought Martin Warburton with her. We spotted the usual bits and pieces including Teal, Lapwing, Redshank, Gadwall and Cormorant and then the two Martins left to continue their monthly census on the site. Within five minutes they were replaced by Eddie Denson, who crept through the wood without a sound and nearly gave me a heart attack. While we chatted we were lucky to see a Little Egret flying in the distance, one of two I saw today and also a Grey Wagtail, New Hythe year tick number 74. I don't think i'll get much more now until the summer migrants arrive, although Water Rail would be a welcome 75. Other notables from the wood and sunken marsh area included a Sparrowhawk, a flock of c. 46 Lapwings among which were at least two more Redshanks, a largish flock of Fieldfares across the river and a couple of Shelduck.
After a bit of a chat with fellow birder John Davies, who had just seen a Goldeneye on Abbey Mead, we too added it to our list when we finally located it on the far side of the lake. On then to Streamside lake adding the traditional sighting of a couple of Bullfinches backsides en route. Sometimes I think Bumfinch would be a better name for this very shy species. No Bitterns to be found in the usual reedbed but we did manage to locate Goosander and Red-head Smew. It's been great having these long stayers this winter, but I expect they'll be off before too much longer. I parted company with Eddie and started making my way back to the river, pausing to try and get a shot of a pair of Goldcrests near the railway line but to no avail, it was still very overcast at the time so it was never going to be a good result. Back at the sunken marsh I disturbed a Sparrowhawk which must have been on the ground I think, then I turned the corner and bumped into Ken Browne of Focusing on Wildlife fame. Together we revisited the river via the small wood for a last look and i'm glad we did because we found, Green Sandpiper, four distant Buzzards spotted by Ken, two Gt Black-backed Gulls, a Kestrel, a Kingfisher, another Little Egret this one feeding on the river bank and four Shelducks.
As Ken and I parted company I glanced up and there was another Buzzard, closely followed by a second one circling over the river, pictured and heavily cropped below, making six in total and a day count of 52 species. The february NH list now stands at 66.