Sunday, 14 April 2013

Spring, at long last

Dungeness - 0700hrs - mild, grey, drizzle, s 3 - The day started off mild and wet but by early afternoon the skies cleared and a southerly airflow bathed the Peninsula in welcome sunshine.
From the seawatching hide few birds were on the move up-Channel this morning with an hour delivering a paltry 2 divers, 30 scoters and a trickle of Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns; although behind the weather front in the afternoon came the first reports of Pom Skua passed the point. A check around the bushes was notable for 2 Firecrests, 5 Goldcrests and several Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
ARC - My first Sand Martins (161) of the year among a group of Swallows and House Martins was a welcome sight from Screen hide, where Bearded Tits were pinging away and a Yellow Wagtail passed overhead. The oiled Red-throated Diver flew around the pit, where 4 Goldeneyes remained within the common wildfowl; also noted Great White and Little Egrets, 2 Marsh Harriers, Green Woodpecker and a flyover Bittern. The walk down to the pines produced another Marsh year tick with a Reed Warbler (162) singing in a reedbed on Tower pits, plus Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. At the pines, 2 Goldcrests, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.
Lade 1400hrs - The warn sunshine had brought forth plenty of amphibian activity in the ponds where marsh frogs and newts were basking in the warm rays. Along the causeway suntrap coltsfoot flowers attracted several small tortoisehells and peacocks, while several Swallows hawked the myriad of black flying insects. On north pit a single Goldeneye and 2 Med Gulls over with a single Little Gull on south pit. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Cetti`s Warbler and Water Rail all making noises in the swamp.
A final scan from the aerial mound was most productive with an adult male Hen Harrier flying behind the wall `mirror` heading towards the bird reserve; 3 Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel too.

                               Marsh Frog & Coltsfoot, Lade

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