Visited Tophill this morning as I wanted to get the yearlist kickstarted. On the approach road a covey of 7 or 8 Grey Partridge were a good sight. Severely pissing on my bonfire were the Defra 'sharp'shooters who were firing all morning at the handful of Ruddies on D. This meant D res was out of bounds so I quickly ventured to O. A quick scan into the sun revealed little in quality bar 30 or so Goldeneye and a few Shoveler and Pochard. The rest was the usual Teal/Wigeon/Mallard/Tuftie based dross. I perambulated to the otherside via a very icy south marsh east. Viewing was much better from the 'L' shaped hide and I quickly picked out a redhead Smew. Not the hoped for white nun but very nice indeed.
Heading to Watton borrow pits a shape glided off the path - Woodcock? Probably but we'll never know as it quickly went into the undergrowth. A proper corner of the eye job. From the hide not a lot was doing and I discussed with a couple of regulars the Bittern and the chance of seeing it - no sooner had I said this than it came siling over the hide and circled the right-hand pool before plonking down out of sight. A site tick and year tick. Lovely! In the background a couple of Buzzards circled over a small wood in the balmy 9 degree temperatures. 2 Fieldfares chuckled their way over the pools and a Kestrel had caught a rather large meal for itself - it could barely fly.
Heading back to the car park a Woodcock flashed past me - not often they travel at anything approaching high speed. The reason was soon revealed as a regular emerged from the undergrowth after a quick leak and a rather large shock. From the car park a Siskin 'chewed' its way overhead as a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers shouted from the tree tops.
p.s. forgot to mention a Jay yesterday heading past Nafferton Hall - a very scarce bird locally and a pleasing spot.