Man, it's cold but thankfully we have missed the snow...for now.
Left for work yesterday at 8am and it was -9.8 and it didn't get above freezing all day! With the new Parrinder Hides opening on Friday afternoon, I decided to spend most of the day on the reserve guaging the reactions for our visitors. I was pleasently surprised that all comments were positive and a great tonic after the hard work over the past few months and the grief we got over the Island Hide.
This started well with the Northern harrier hunting close to the west bank and a large numeber of passerines feeding on the brackish marsh outside the hide. A count revealed 87 skylark, 55 meadow pipit, 5 water pipit and a snow bunting. As I was leaving for lunch, 2 Lapland bunting dropped right in front of the hide.
As I was nearly back to the centre I noticed a flock of probable 'wild' swans coming in from the East. As they got closer I realised that they were whoopers with a small bird 3rd from the end - it was a Bewick's, very nice.
Just as I was about to head out after lunch a visitor came in to say that there was a jack snipe stuck to the ice near Island Hide. I was pretty sceptical but headed out to have a look. As I got to the spot and small group were watching a jack snipe sat on the ice. I climbed down the bank and got within a foot of picking it up when flew onto the grazing marsh, it was OK after all!
After an adult med gull on the fresh marsh and several raptors hunting over the saltmarsh, I was frozen to the core so I headed back. A water rail and barn owl near the centre ended the day.