Dungeness - 0630hrs - cold, overcast, hail showers, ne 3 - The weather is now getting plain tedious, this time last year I had the shorts on, today its the full winter gear again - damn that jet-stream. Anyhow, an hour in the seawatch hide in failing light produced very little apart from 50 Gannets, a few Kittiwakes and a diver. Luckily I was joined by SO and we got onto talking about birds in warmer climes to pass the time; Morrocco, Lesbos etc...
A smart male Wheatear was the only noteworthy bird on the land and by 0745hrs the hail storm was so bad I retreated down the coast.
A revisit later on near high tide produced the Glaucous Gull at the boats, a 3rd winter Caspian amongst the Herring Gulls and a Merlin chasing a Skylark (which it failed to catch after a long chase).
Lade -Different world here for the next hour at least, until the hail arrived, although largely birdless with just 2 Chiffchaffs on the migrant front. A scattering of diving ducks and grebes on both pits and 2 Marsh Harriers hunting behind the `mirrors` noted before the weather closed in.
Dengemarsh - 1400hrs - Flogged around the back of Hookers and Gun Club field for, well anything new really, but all I could conjure up were 6 (feral?) Bean Geese in the field amongst the Grey Lags, a couple of Bitterns, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and the usual Marsh Harriers. The wind had picked up again and not a passerine was there anywhere, apart from a lone Song Thrush and a couple of singing Cetti`s Warblers, while 2 hares `boxed` in a stony field alongside the watching Lapwings.
From the visitors centre an adult Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Smew, plus 2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings.
Had several messages concerning the reappearance of the Walland Marsh Common Crane which was seen near the turkey sheds below Appledore this afternoon.
NB: Just a thought, but this blocking high pressure weather system that`s been delivering cold air from Russia, for what seems like ages. Well, according to the Met Office it looks set to continue for a couple more weeks at least and is already causing significant energy supply and agricultural grief, quite apart from the effect it must be having on some of our early breeding birds. I wonder what the outcome would be, if for example it persisted for, say another month or longer? Unlikely, I know, but just a thought...