Sunday, 31 January 2016

White WEBS and heavy going

The WEBS count on the 17th commenced with a proper feeling of winter in the form of some early morning snow. Unfortunately this was the exception rather than the norm since, following the warmest December on record, we have now had the wettest January with just two frosts locally and persistent rain being the order of the day.
Highlight of the WEBS was the number of birds, especially Lapwing with 430 on Down Level and a further 200 on Horse-eye. Unsurprisingly given the mild weather, there were no Goldies about and only a few Snipe on the wader front. The duck were few in number with just a single drake Shoveler, 17 Teal, and 10 Mallard scattered about, but the geese included singles of White-front and Barnacle albeit of suspect origin...
As ever raptors keep the spirits high with the ringtail Heh Harrier still present on Horse-eye together with at least 2 Marsh Harrier, the resident Peregrines, and at least one Shortie as ever near Lookers.

The levels are extremely heavy going at the moment with very deep muddy paths and off piste even worse! Needless to say there are opportunities to explore further afield and a trip to Dunge on the 10th was particularly rewarding with Penduline Tit, Long-eared Owl (above), 2 GWE, Slavonian Grebe, and Smew the highlights with the Glossy Ibis at Pett providing a late afternoon padder on the way home.

Elsewhere bits and bobs included a cracking Firecrest in the bushes to the east of Horseshoe plantation on the 23rd. Stay safe.