Friday, 24 May 2013

Red-rumped Swallow & Bee-eater

Lade - 0700hrs - cold (5C!), rain, nw 2 - On one of the coldest May days I can remember it was no surprise that the only birds of note over the pits this morning were hundreds of Swifts and hirundines attempting to feed on emerging insects. A singing Blackcap in the garden, however, suggested that there had been some overnight migration.
ARC - 1200hrs - Incredibly, in such unfavourable weather conditions, two cracking southern rarities turned up today in the shape of the season`s 5th Red-rumped Swallow and a Bee-eater.
By the time I arrived on site the multi-coloured job had gone awol so I headed for Hanson hide where together with several other birders we enjoyed superb views of the Red-rumper hawking insects over the lake along with hundreds of Swifts and hirundines.  Unfortunately, a Hobby appeared which spooked the lot, and when they returned were much further out over the lake. Almost as good as the rumper was a cracking close Spotted Flycatcher in the willows by the hide, plus another singing Blackcap with an odd flourish at the end of its song.
Dungeness -  After a fair bit of flying around the Desert and Trapping Area the Bee-eater (193) eventually settled down for a bit on the wires near the Light Railway car park where it performed quite well, calling and sallying forth to catch bees (surprisingly with much success on such a cool day). Then suddenly up it went, calling away, off high and out of sight to the north-west at 1400hrs.

                                Bee-eater, Dungeness

Scotney & Galloways - Joined MH for a quick scout around to look for Cattle Egret to the east of Lydd. No joy but we did notch up a chicken-shed Little Owl. Scotney was alive with hundreds of Swifts and lesser numbers of hirundines. On the grass a pair of Ringed Plovers and a Barnacle Goose was about it. The Galloways Road yielded plenty of Cuckoo v Mipit action, plus Kestrel, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.


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