I've been able to have a quick look at several sites around the village early in the mornings this past week and today I stopped just west of the village and scanned the large sugar beet field just south of the road. A hundred or so mixed Gulls were all apparently immatures, any adults, sensing the urgency to breed, having moved on from this particular wintering area. They were distant from the road but seemed jumpy and I was a little surprised that they all took flight as a Sparrowhawk coursed low over the field. A Chinese Water Deer was also nearby and I considered the likelihood of this being the culprit but couldn't make up my mind; perhaps the Gulls' immaturity, and the lack of any experienced adults around, meant that they would spook easily and at anything. During the time I was there, the deer slowly picked its way across the open field and gingerly crossed the road, it's coat looking somewhat scruffy as the more insulating winter hair was slowly being shed. Having turned up just after me, Keith managed to take some good video footage, helped by the fact that these cute aliens appear to have lost much of their fear of man, this one giving us just the occasional cursory glance as it approached. As I was leaving, a male Reed Bunting appeared on a sapling, perhaps a migrant bird after some R & R.
At Cart Gap, five Wheatears remained on the large beet field where last night there had been ten; had half the flock gone or were these new birds? A male Yellow Wagtail was also there, the first I have seen this year. Later, as I walked Ossie just into Lessingham, there were another three in a newly planted potato field, one of which was a drabber female. At the paddocks there was less Warbler activity than yesterday but I was lucky enough to pick up a Peregrine flying south. It wasn't particulary high up, the streaked breast indicating it was an immature bird and from it's small size probably a male. It showed no interest in the few Woodpigeons around, nor they it, and passed straight through in a direct line, obviously intent on getting somewhere.