The first flush count of 2014 took place in driving rain and buffeting wind. Not surprisingly the marshes were awash – as was the inside of my wellys by the end. In the gloomy light, with glasses streaked with rain, it was not always easy to spot the birds flying up. Nevertheless, we achieved a good tally of snipe: 48 in School Pond, 49 (plus one jack snipe) in Big Meadow, and a single bird each for the Hay Meadow and Upper Sowerholme. Highlight was a sparrowhawk (probably male, from the size) that flew over and back above our heads as we stood in the middle of Big Meadow.