Friday, 4 May 2012

Storks, Waders & Warblers

Scotney 1015hrs - overcast, damp, cool, ne2 - News broke of a pair of White Storks on sheep fields between Pigwell and Scotney this morning. By the time I arrived there was nobody on site and I feared the worst; however the 2 storks soon came into view, striding around amongst the sheep picking up small items of prey. They showed well `til 1100hrs and then took flight, soaring up high and away to the west where they were seen over Rye half an hour later.
Whilst watching the storks several Greenshanks flew over calling and one even landed beside them for a while. A few Barwits, Grey Plovers and Whimbrels also passed overhead. On the main pit 3 spanking Black Terns were briefly joined by 25! more which tumbled out of the murk, flew around for 10 minutes and then proceeded eastwards. Phew! This was starting out to be a good day.
Then did a circuit behind the gravel pits to Pigwell pit to checkout the wash out end of the lake. An incredible haul here of 4 Avocets, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 LRPs, 2 Redshanks, 3 alpina Dunlins and singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint in summer plum; also, another Dunlin with a shortish bill and small belly patch was probably a schinzii. Also 10 Yellow Wagtails, Reed, Sedge and Garden Warblers, 2 Corn Buntings and a Little Owl on the sewage works building.
Lade Bay - As there were Kentish Plovers either side of the Marsh thought I`d best check the bay... A good spread of summer plum waders included 255 Barwits, 85 Grey Plovers, 30 Sanderlings, 25 Turnstone and all the usual Curlews, Oycs etc.
Dungeness - 1200hrs & 1500hrs - Two sessions at the point produced an unbelievable tally of passerines; infact I can barely remember anything this good in the spring over the past 45 years of  birding, there was literally birds in every piece of cover. Warblers were in the vanguard with `hundreds` of Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs everywhere; in the moat there were flocks of Blackcaps and Whitethroats, 20 here, 30 there, all flitting around low down calling and feeding, never seen anything like it. Garden Warblers, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Whinchats, Lesser Whitethroats, Common Redstarts were also noted and I also had singles of Nightingale and Ring Ouzel, flyover Redpolls and 2 Redwings, plus an in-the-hand Wood Warbler. Its difficult to convey what an exceptional fall this was, best bet is to check out the DBO website for an assessment of the entire day (good luck with that one DW!)
When I left the railway car park at 1700hrs a flock of  phylloscs flew around the car as I drove down the concrete road, a fitting end to a fantastic day.
Needless to say the Obs staff and ringers were kept busy all day.
Elsewhere a Golden Oriole was reported on the bird reserve and the Wiltshire Birders had a great day at Rye with Kentish Plover, Osprey and Wood Warbler the highlights.

                                         White Storks, Scotney

                                          Wood Warbler, DBO

                                          Garden Warbler, DBO

                                          Spotted Flycatcher, DBO

                                          Lesser Whitethroat, DBO

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