Sunday 12th February
Cold, dull, light easterly breeze, snow turning to light rain.
I was quite excited about getting out for a long walk today, hoping for a crisp bright winter's day, so I was slightly disappointed when I realised how dull the day was. I spent a little while feeding the garden birds, during which time Marc Heath rang to say a Smew was on Brook. I headed straight there, and a few minutes later I was watching my first red-head Smew at Reculver. It's been a long time coming. Also on Brook were well over 100 Teal and Gadwall, among a huge number of duck. A few Snipe were feeding in the ditches near the reservoir, and I watched a Wren carefully dipping into the water to drink.
About 10 o'clock I drove to the car park at the towers, wrapped up warm and walked east almost reaching Coldharbour. I really believe there will be a white-winged gull seen there this winter, and I spent time looking at all the large gulls, but the vast majority were Herring Gulls, with a few Great and Lesser Black-backed.
On the beach near the towers were 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, which is rather unusual. They kept well away from the huge numbers of Dark-bellied birds.
Apart from the usual waders, I did see 5 Bar-tailed Godwits and 8 Curlew, plus 2 Eider just offshore.
This evening near Shuart there was a Barn Owl out hunting, a Chiffchaff near the farm, 12 Grey Partridges in a field east of Shuart, and walking back at dusk 2 Woodcock flew over.
All in all, a fun weekend.