It was the 1st of March today and if it hadn't been for a gale force and chilly wind smashing it's way across the reserve, it could of been the first day proper of Spring. Continuous blue skies and a sun that was quite warm out of the wind made it feel springlike. As I drove through the farmland spinney onto the reserve, a couple of Chaffinchs were singing strongly and a pair of Jackdaws were noisily showing interest in the hollow part of a half dead willow tree. Even one of the reserve's resident pair of Barn Owls was sitting in a willow tree there sunning itself, not something that you would expect to see, but something that it often does.
The downside this last week has been the fact that we've had a couple of rainy spells which has brought the water levels back up slightly but with strong winds and sunshine at this time of year it is always amazing at how quickly the place can dry out again.
And so, across to the sea wall and a quick peruse through the 'scope to see if the Richards Pipit twitch was still occurring but fortunately, while I was there, it wasn't, just half a dozen well spread out birdwatchers. I did get to speak to one of the, a guy who had driven down this morning from the Midlands (Birmingham by the sound of his voice), to see the Pipit but eventually left disappointed - (who'd be a twitcher). Talking to two other birdwatchers, one of whom was the very rare Barry Wright, it seems that the Pipit had been seen but had been carried by the strong wind to gawd knows where, the strength of the wind was certainly not conducive to finding and watching the bird.
Not infected by "must see the Pipit" disease I then spent a pleasant half an hour in the Sea Wall Hide counting wildfowl and wader numbers on The Flood. The Flood looked particularly nice today, as you can see below, and although wildfowl numbers are gradually dropping, there was still a good variety of birds in there and close by (see below).
120 Greylag Geese
2 Canada Geese
40 Brent Geese
16 Tufted Duck
40 Grey Plover
120 Golden Plover
1 Hooded Crow
4 Marsh Harrier
March can be a very pleasant cross-over month and one in which we see the end of the awful winter months. It can begin with Wigeon and Whitefronts and end with Wheatears and Sand Martins - I so hope so!