From the bucket wood I was pleased to see no less than four species of wader on the river. This doesn't happen very often here, at least not to me. Common Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing (above) and Common Sandpiper were all making the most of the rapidly diminishing muddy margins as the tide rapidly flooded in. Also here were several Little Grebe, a small flock of Canade geese with a single Greylag in tow, good numbers of Teal and a Buzzard perched in a tree on the opposite bank.
My final tally for the morning was a creditable 48 species. Not bad for an inland site in the middle of December. It could so easily have been well over 50 if the likes of Grey and Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush and Fieldfare had been found. These were species that I just didn't connect with on the day, but what about species such as Goldcrest for instance. I would expect to see these on nearly every visit during the Winter but I haven't seen one so far this year. Siskins too are in short supply with none seen at NH yet this Winter, although I heard just one calling over Abbey Mead while I watched the RC Pochard. On the other hand Blackbirds are everywhere, with literally hundreds across the site at present. And in my back garden as it happens, along with a single Fieldfare who visits most days for next doors Apples and occasionally has a bath in my pond.
As I walked back along the wide path adjacent to the river I stopped to listen to a strange call coming from close by. It turned out to be the 'local' Harris Hawk who has taken up residence recently. He was, maybe understandably, quite tolerant of my presence but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find a decent gap in the branches to get a picture without the obligatory twig across the face.
Of course I won't be adding the Hawk to my New Hythe year list which is a shame really because the Red-crested Pochard bought my tally up to 99. Only one more for the ton, but it's unlikely to happen now........unless Terry helps me out again!