Sunday, 17 April 2011

California Quails, a Cuckoo and a `booming` Bittern - Lade!

Lade - 0615hrs - cool, hazy sunshine, light airs - Stumbled out of bed on a cracking spring morning, with a red sun rising and not a breath of wind, to get the monthly WeBS count out of the way early on. A definite increase in Whitethroats this morning, singing from every vantage point, in competition with Linnets and Dunnocks. Also, several back garden Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in song, a perched Sparrowhawk, 2 Corn Buntings and a fly-over Greenshank `tuu-tuu-tuuing`.
I noticed Barney snuffling about in a patch of broom and a few seconds later out came a pair of game birds (and I dont mean the type you find in Lydd on a Saturday night!). My first thought was, Coturnix, coturnix, but, no, unfortunately these tiny quails were of the Californian variety, complete with amazing head plumes that drooped over the bill. I dont expect these escapees will last for long, but at least they`ll have had a taste of freedom before becoming a snack for the local foxes.
                                           Cuckoo, Lade

Anyway, the duck count didnt take long with 18 Great Crested Grebes the highlight. The reed beds were full of the eponymous warblers, while my first Cuckoo of the year posed nicely on power lines.
On the walk back to Plovers, by the southern end of south pit, I was stunned to hear the unmistakable sound of  a `booming` Bittern emanating from the direction of Dengemarsh on the bird reserve. On this still morning it could be clearly heard, just over a mile away across the Desert.
Park Wood, Appledore - 1000hrs Managed to persuade, Teacher-teacher into the woods on this gorgeous morning to experience the sight and smells of a classic bluebell wood in its full glory. Plenty of bird song, despite the late hour, including 7 singing Nightingales, with several brief views. A Tawny Owl making a strangulated version of the `keewik` call also made a cameo appearance thanks to an attendant Jay.
                                          Bluebells, Appledore
ARC - 1600hrs Had a quick look at the gulls from the causeway. Amongst the motley selection of black-backs were some cracking adult summer plum graellsii Lesser Blacks and one odd looking bird which was much blacker on the mantle and wing tips with no apparent contrast (where`s Gullman when you need him) and sort of hinted at Baltic, fuscus. Anyway, it was about the same shape as the regular Brit birds, but a little smaller, and so on, and so forth and I didnt see it fly, blah, blah, blah. Hawkeye, who also saw it agreed it, "was interesting" and that was about it. Gulls.... how can they possibly be some birders favourites...
Also recorded today around Dungeness was a male Montys north over the fishing boats, a Gropper at Galloways and Black Tern through the reserve.

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