Ray O' Reiily writes:- "On Sunday January 15th we had the inaugural KOS Field Outing of the year. It was attended by several members who previously regularly joined these outings, so it was good to catch up. We spent the morning at Blean Woods NR, the home patch of member, Kieron McDonnell whose knowledge of the area was a real bonus.

 We soon found a small bird flock that contained a Siskin feeding happily on catkins (we later found another small flock). Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper were much in evidence and we were often serenaded by both Song and Mistle Thrushes. Several Coal Tits and Goldcrests were watched, as well as at least seven Firecrests -  some of which were displaying and showing their flame-coloured crests. (Thanks to Liz Ackroyd for the image.)

 Stock Dove, Long-tailed Tit and Common Buzzard were added to the day list and a pair of Raven flew over croaking.

 We then travelled to an area near Seaton Gravel Pits hoping to find a small flock of Cattle Egrets but had to content ourselves with Little Egrets instead.  Such is birding……………… 

 Lunch was taken in the shelter at Stodmarsh NR car park.  We then set off toward the Lampen Wall to where the vanguard of our party had found a female type Ring-Necked Duck,  but it was against the light and we could see it only in silhouette  - where the head shape could be picked out.  Then the duck swam into the bay close to the Reedbed hide, and from there we saw the bird in perfect light.  Memorably,  for a short time it climbed out of the water onto a log for our special enjoyment of this North American vagrant! Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler were added to our list and some large flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare were calling and landing in the trees close to the hide.

 Our last part of the day was spent watching the Harriers coming into their roost from near the Tower Hide. Several Marsh Harriers were joined by two female Hen Harriers  - one of which landed in a bush and perched up for 'scope views for ten minutes or more.

 It was a good day’s birding for us all, much enjoyed -  and we recorded 58 species."

 Ray O'Reilly

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