Oare Marshes

0815—1000  The registering plus 2 deg  seemed significantly below that, in a cutting NE breeze and fine sleet showers. With the murk thrown in, it seemed daylight was unlikely to happen today, with the landscape forty shades of grey and merging with the Swale waters ! A female  Marsh Harrier quartered the W side dykes ; a female Stonechat was in the rank grassland E side whilst the flood was barren save for the ubiquitous Coots; and a handful of Teal; Mallard and Shoveler. With the rising tide, Dunlin in scores were at the water`s edge; Avocets swept the margins and started to depart to E flood roost; Brent were  misty silhouettes along Harty banks and Horse Sands and a couple of well marked Bar-tailed Godwits with Grey Plovers were off the seawall hide with circa 250 Lapwings in sentinel pose facing the weather. Less than ten small passerines made an appearance on the circuit—at least the ground is presently not frozen solid; so where brambles and rough terrain remain, following significant clearance, there is some cover! A large female Sparrowhawk bombed through at reedbed height- probably seeing more buntings and pipits than I did. The Avocets gradually formed a tight knit phalanx on the flood with numbers quickly to 120+. Thank God for thermals and hot coffee!  Mike R