We crossed the railway line and paused for a chat by the railway lake and as we did so three of the female Smew took off from the lake hardly thirty feet from where we were standing. Scan first, chat later was the lesson learned. I wondered if they may have come down on Johnson's lake so we headed in that direction via Streamside where the Bittern was a no show but Siskins were feeding in the Alders along with some Goldfinches, a Treecreeper was heard but not seen and a Kingfisher crossed the water in silence. A very brief view of a Water Vole was had in the ditch adjacent to Johnson's and from there we also relocated the Smews. But now there were six! All redheads and all very, very shy. I tried everything to get close enough for a picture but they were too smart for me and I had to settle for a long distance effort which did them no justice.
There's a small lake next to Johnson's and on it was this fine Great Crested Grebe. We stood for sometime watching it fishing and successfully catching a couple of Perch. How such a delicate looking bird deals with the impressive spines on the dorsal fin and gill covers of these fish I don't know. Obviously swallowing them head first keeps the dorsal fin down but even so it still seems a very prickly meal.
The mild weather and calm winds gave the day a spring like feel, even more so when a couple of Gt Spotted Woodpeckers began drumming nearby, the first i've heard this year. A Green Woodpecker also made a brief appearance.
A couple of Mistle Thrushes flew over just before we headed back across the east scrub, where a handful of Redwings were perched in the hawthorns which have now been stripped of their berries. Not much else here other than the odd Chaffinch and Greenfinch.