Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Jay & Water Rail

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, sunny, w2 - With a clear sky last night and low temperatures there was a  predictable low number of moths in the trap this morning; of just 3 species to be precise.
Anyhow, it was a stunning morning weather wise (apart from the ever present westerly airflow) with a cobalt sky and an autumnal nip in the air, infact ideal conditions in which to flog around the local patch.
Overhead passage over the next 2 hours comprised a pathetic trickle of Mipits, Sand Martins, Swallows, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Reed Bunting (O! for an easterly wind...). Raptors fared a little better with 3 Sparrowhawks, (including one chasing hirundines without much success) and singles of Merlin, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier. The willow scrub between the two pits held most of the passerines with at least 20 Chiffchaffs, 4 Cetti`s Warblers, 2 Blackcaps and singles of Reed and Sedge Warblers, plus loads of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits and a few Blackbirds, Robins and Chaffinches. Most surprising was a Jay squawking from the willows which set off several Water Rails. Over the past week or so I`ve noticed one or two Jays around the Marsh, but this is the first of the autumn on the coast. On the muddy islands Shelduck, Green Sandpiper and Water Rail amongst scores of Teals, Gadwalls, Coots and Moorhens, plus plenty of Dabchicks and Great Crested Grebes along the reedbed edge. This area looks superb for a rare crake and I shall continued to watch and hope throughout the next month or so.
I guess the spectacle of the morning was the flight of the Greylags returning from their nocturnal forays on Romney Salts; it even made Barney looked up briefly, before returning to sniff something disgusting. I know we treat them like lepers, (feral geese that is, not my dog!) but hey, they give us something to count, and sadly I tallied at least 1,300 as they splashed down on south pit. Without exception all the dog walkers comment to me what a great sight these geese make, so perhaps some of their enthusiasm is rubbing off...

          Lade South - the reedbed here gets the early morning sun and often attracts Accros

                                         Grey Lags flighting in to south pit

ARC - 1130hrs - From Hanson it was a case of the same old same old, I`m afraid, only without the Little Stints. In an hour all I could muster up were 6 Dunlin, 2 Blackwits and 25 Golden Plovers amongst 100 Lapwing. Wigeon numbers have steadily increased to 25 and 6 Pintails showed well close to the hide. A couple of Sparrowhawks and a Marsh Harrier kept the waders and wildfowl alert while over the water there was plenty of Sand Martins. Bumped into BP on the way back to the car park who`d seen a Great White Egret on Dengemarsh but no sign of the Pec Sand on Burrowes.

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