Dungeness - cool, sunny, ne 3 - 0630hrs - Oh dear, the last day in April and seabirds should be flooding through, but this morning was about as bad as it gets; hopefully it will pick up a bit for the expected influx of Bank Holiday weekend birders. A few Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore along with half a dozen porpoises, while an hour long vigil from the hide produced 14 Common Scoters, 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 Arctic Skua and a Fulmar up-Channel, plus a Hobby and 4 Crows inbound. A quick scout round the bushes yielded nothing so it was off to the local patch to try and find some birds.
Lade - There seemed to have been an overnight arrival of Lesser Whitethroats as at least 4 were `rattling` away around the site, along with 15 Common Whitethroats, 6 Sedge Warblers, 2 Cetti`s and c20 Reed Warblers. From the causeway had cracking views of Cuckoo, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Hobby behind the `mirrors`, while all 3 hirundines were twittering away as they hawked insects over the willow swamp; despite the cool temperatures there seemed to be loads of flying insects on the wing, particularly over the ponds. Also noted 6 Med Gulls, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Kestrel.
Lade pits is a great site for grebes with at least 15 pairs of Great Crested and around 10 pairs of Dabchicks currently breeding and this morning they were joined by a gorgeous Black-necked Grebe on north pit in full summer plum, without doubt the bird of the day.
Back home I `emptied` another barren moth trap. Without wishing to harp on about the effect the cool spring has had on moth numbers, one local mo`ther who has been trapping down here for 30 years or more said to me this morning, "that its the worst spring for moths by a country mile". We can only hope it improves as the temperature steadily rises towards the weekend.
New Romney Sewage Works - A flock of around 50 hirundines over the workings comprised mainly House Martins. Another singing Lesser Whitethroat heard, plus Mistle Thrush, Blackcap and Chiffchaff along the railway line scrub, while 5 Yellow Wagtails briefly alighted in a potato field.
Dengemarsh - 1400hrs - A circuit of Dengemarsh with Mrs PT this afternoon commenced at Springfield Bridge and the hayfields where the wader tally was 12 Ringed Plovers, 6 Lapwings, 4 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshanks, 2 Dunlin and a Whimbrel. The Ravens flew over several times `cronking` loudly, several Marsh Harriers were active and the Bittern `boomed` regularly. There was plenty of warbler activity in the scrub and gorse including 2 Lesser Whitethroats, while the smell from the gorse flower in the bright sunshine was intoxicating. As we approached the Corral a text from OL told of a Red Kite (178) on the peninsula of which we had distant views as it sailed over ARC towards the water tower and probably over the local patch at Lade. Also noted several Yellow Wagtails, Green Woodpecker and Common Buzzard, plus 2 hares and a grass snake.