I thought the cold snap would have driven birds on to the Swale but it was quiet with the exception of 21 Cormorants, half a dozen Goosander and three Snipe, my first of the year. The two Mute Swans were still present and there were now a pair of Oystercatchers, the one bird here having caught what I assume is a large freshwater mussel.
In the afternoon I visited the Magic Garden and spotted a Little Egret perched in a distant tree.
I also saw a small, dumpy bird flying high, well above the tree tops. It took me a while to identify it as a Little Owl because that’s the first time I have seen one doing anything much more than bounding low across to its next perch.
Later a Blackbird shot through some vegetation, straight at me. In fact I had to duck (and felt the rush of its wings through what’s left of my hair!). The cause soon appeared, a female Sparrowhawk which veered sharply off as soon as it saw me. It did feel as though the Blackbird deliberately used me to deflect the pursing hawk.