Went back to Bramfield again this morning. Arrived around 0930, and found quite a lot of birders loitering around the church gate. William had seen three Hawfinch earlier in an oak at the back of the big garden opposite.
Seemed to be a lot of bird activity this time, with singing Goldcrests, Tits and my first Nuthatches of the year. Wandered down the road to look at the oak a bit more closely and noted more Nuthatch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a lot of corvids and Starlings. The main target here actually was one of the Firecrests and it did not take long before a very bright crest flew out of the evergreen shrubs in front of us before vanishing deep into the hedge.
I then went back to the church to search the yews and holly before ending up in the playing fields to join some of those I was with yesterday. We chatted for a bit then unexpectedly a Hawfinch flew out over the church and low over our heads before heading off to the big woods west of us. No idea where it came from as no-one by the gate saw it.
I then called in at Rye Meads for a couple of hours. The water levels on most of the reserve is very high, good for ducks, including my first Herts Shelduck of the year, but luckily the northern lagoon is being kept virtually empty. The many rocky islands and shallow pools are ideal for waders (and also more ducks) and I found three Green Sandpipers. Not much else of note, the Kingfishers were not seen and I had hoped to locate a Chiffchaff. Many other birders were trying to find up to three Bittern, but the many reed beds are not all that easy to search, and the birds move around a lot.