The snow may have gone but the cold has returned with a vengeance, or so it felt this weekend.
Yesterday got off to a good start with some sunshine and a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a patchwork year tick. There were a few sharp showers but these had all been short-lived so I headed off for Haddiscoe Island in the afternoon with the dog. The first thing I noticed was the wind, an icy northerly coming straight down the New Cut towards me. Then the rain came, blowing straight in to my face and this time it didn't seem to want to stop. I walked the first mile with my head down until it finally relented. The dog was surprisingly unconcerned.
Perhaps because of the wind and rain the Island seemed strangely quiet, just the odd Marsh Harrier and Barn Owl to start with. The thick cloud making the light very poor didn't help but I stuck it out until the cloud cleared and the sun came out. With better light I scanned towards Reedham and picked out a raptor in flight, a Rough-legged Buzzard. It began hovering and continued for about 10-15 minutes dropping down only twice in that time. It was just a shame the views were rather distant. The dog was now shivering despite her coat so it was time to head home.
Today the wind was even colder or so it felt. I stayed at home as I'm getting over yet another cold but the patchwork ticks keep coming. Late morning I was scanning across the marshes when a distant raptor caught my eye. Expecting a Marsh Harrier I was delighted to see the forked tail of a Red Kite, a bird I didn't see here in 2012. It flew across the marshes towards us before disappearing out of view behind the neighbours wood. Incidentally I have at last staked out a dead road-kill rabbit on the marsh to see if it will attract raptors in to feed but not even the crows have found it yet and this Red Kite completely missed it too.
The other highlight was a mixed flock of 100 Siskins and Redpolls feeding in the alders by one of the sheep paddocks, the biggest flock I've seen here for some time.