It was disappointing that at 10.00 a m. on this first meeting of the year, the mist started to fall because earlier it had been a spectacularly pretty morning with the sun glistening on the frost. However, even if the visibility was to prevent many sightings, it was certainly a good day for a walk. I was the only one today (it was a bit of a last minute arrangement) as the only other person who was coming with me was not well enough to stand around in the cold, and it was cold. Every now and then the stillness and the silence were broken by a slight breeze, which caused the frost-laden branches to rub and crackle against each other. I met only one person all morning and that was a dog walker on the seawall, so it was quiet and absolutely peaceful. With visibility down to about 7-metres I startled a green woodpecker as it perched on a fence post ready to drop to the ground, but seeing me changed its mind and flew low over the field and away into a tree.
Walking down to the lake at Creeksea there was a flock of small birds on the field but before I could get close enough to positively identify them, they took off – I think they were pied wagtails. We normally view the lake from a distance, but today I had to walk almost to the water’s edge. The water was iced over but a herring gull was standing on a piece of wood caught in the ice.
The little egret wasn’t in its usual place on the saltings at Creeksea but later I saw it beside the water in the reed beds in the park. The westerly breeze had caused the frost to lie thickly on one side of the tall, stiffer grasses and was a photographers’ delight but unfortunately I hadn’t brought my camera with me. The tide was receding and had exposed only a short stretch of mud, which was ideal; had the tide been any lower the water’s edge would have been hidden in the mist. The water in the dyke was frozen and some of the rivulets on the saltings were quite icy. There were some Brent geese on the river and somewhere in the mist a large flock of them could be heard communicating as they flew. There were plenty of waders feeding on the shoreline: sanderling, dunlin, redshank, curlew and a large flock of lapwing as well as several cormorants.
An absolutely super morning.
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting)
Magpie 3 (1), Wood Pigeon 53 (9), Crows 4 (2), Robin 8 (2), Sparrow 1, Dunnock 2 (1), Goldfinch 2 (2), Great Tit 2 (1), Blue Tit 2 (1), Blackbird 10 (2), Song Thrush 1, Starlings 2 (2), Green Woodpecker 1 (1), Black-headed Gull 2 (1), Herring Gull 1, Little Egret 1, Lapwing 90 (70), Curlew 2 (1), Little Grebe 4 (4), Mallard 4 (2), Redshank 5 (2), Dunlin 1, Sanderling 1, Brent Geese 4 (4), Cormorant 6 (6)
Flowers: Yarrow, Oxford Ragwort.