Dungeness - 0730hrs - cool, sunny, se2 - Spent a couple of hours strolling around the Peninsula with little return apart from a scattering of Mipits, Goldfinches, Siskins, Redpolls and Skylarks overhead, plus a few grounded Chiffs, Goldcrests and Reed Buntings. However, two Short-eared Owls (one over the Trapping Area and one in off the sea) brightened things up considerably and the Ravens were down on the foreshore by the seawatch hide.
Confusion set in at the Obs (well, it did for me...) where Redpoll ringing was in progress. DW pointed out the salient features of several Common/Mealy (Carduelis flammea) types in the hand, which would have been near impossible to pick out in the field. Most redpolls seen here are of the western/central European race, C cabaret, and are small and dark. The little beauties depicted are larger, paler and whiter below than Lessers, buffer above and darker streaked on a paler rump; oh, and there was something about the streaking on the under-tail coverts, which I`ve forgotten, so there we go, that's as clear as mud! In hand biometrics also supported the case for Mealy, giving a slightly longer wing length. Anyhow, whatever their true race or origin there`s no denying they are smart birds and to have crossed the North Sea last night, well enough said...
ARC - 1300hrs - From Hanson the usual 100 or so Golden Plovers and Lapwings, 2 Dunlins, 2 Snipes, loads of wildfowl and the Glossy Ibis over from Lade way. A passage of 20 Swallows went through high as did a Buzzard.
Lade - 1500hrs - The monthly WeBS count produced the following: 8 Dabchicks, 18 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Cormorants, 5 Grey Herons, 21 Mute Swans, 56 Greylags, 86 Wigeons, 145 Gadwalls, 72 Teals, 212 Mallards, 41 Shoveler, 175 Pochards and 220 Tufted Ducks. A few more Swallows and House Martins here, plus Goldcrest and Chiffchaff in the sallows.
Romney Marsh - 1715hrs - Accompanied Marshman on the first harrier count of the season during which 21 Marsh Harriers went to roost, including one wing-tagged bird. Two male Merlins put on quite a show chasing Mipits, without success. Also noted, 2 Cranes, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Stonechats, 2 Snipe, 55 Golden Plover, singles of Bittern and Kingfisher, plus calling Bearded Tits, Cetti`s Warbler and Water Rail.