Yesterday afternoon I spent the last hour of daylight looking for the first Bittern of the winter on Streamside lake. I didn't see one but it's only a matter of time hopefully. The hour wasn't wasted though because the first bird I saw was a Green Sandpiper which flew up from the small island opposite the Bittern reedbed as I arrived. A Kingfisher was also seen crisscrossing the lake while calling loudly, it's really good of them to draw attention to themselves like that, i'd see far fewer if they didn't. Also drawing attention to themselves were the local Magpies who were having a right old slanging match in the trees to my left. I couldn't see them but as soon as they started, other Magpies began flying across the lake to investigate or join in, I counted 19 of them all heading towards the ongoing fracas in the tree. Five or ten minutes later I counted 19 all heading back from whence they came even though the original fight continued.
Despite the dismal weather this morning I did manage to get a couple of unexpected hours around the lakes, i'm glad I did too as the first bird I saw was a Marsh Harrier which flew south along the river before turning east, away from me, hotly pursued by the local corvids. This is a really good bird for New Hythe, if only one would stick around for a while. Other bits seen included three, possibly four Goldcrests around the southern end of the sunken marsh. Two Redshanks on the river, as well as two Little Egrets, two Little Grebes, plenty of Teal and Mallard still and of course the ever present Grey Herons. There were some good sized flocks of Fieldfare coming down the east side of the Medway Valley, no doubt taking advantage of the northerly winds today. The other large flock of birds seen were the geese pictured below. This is the biggest flock of geese i've ever seen at New Hythe, there were over 100 birds in the skein and they were heading due south high over the sunken marsh and river. I couldn't hear any calling at all and I felt that they weren't the usual 'local' Canadas or Greylags. Any ID thoughts would be really appreciated as these could be a new tick for the patch. Immediately after taking the pictures I glanced to my right in time to see another or the same Marsh Harrier, this time heading north roughly along the course of the river.