The early signs were not promising, no Chiffchaffs, no Wheatears, and just three Meadow Pipits none of which were actively migrating. On the other handed there was a party of about 12 Fieldfares, and another of 20 Starlings moving south-west.
The pool did at least show some promise. A flock of 13 Tufted Ducks, mainly on the top pool. was just shy of the site record. Then a diving dot in the middle of the main pool resurfaced to show itself to be the first Little Grebe of the year.
|The Tufted Duck flock|
This late spring has left the hedgerows and trees well behind where they normally are in terms of leaf cover, and as a result it is impossible to sneak up to the border of the flash field without flushing everything. So today I was left to estimate the numbers of waders and ducks as they scattered from the nearest flash. The whole field is very wet, and looks very promising indeed. The first thing I noticed was the number of Coot present. Adding the small numbers from the other little pools I ended up with a count of 27 which is more than double the site record.
I estimated 30 Teal and 16 Snipe as they rushed to get out of sight, and I suspect there were more than this. Also present were two pairs of Shovelers, one pair of Gadwall, at least 15 Lapwings, a pair of Greylag Geese, and two Green Sandpipers.
The return to Netherstead was pretty uninspiring, one or two March Hares failing to get frisky and although the temperature was apparently 12 degrees there was scarcely an insect in sight.