Lade - 0700hrs - mild, cloudy, rain clearing, nw 2, then sunny, ne 4 - The rain continued throughout the night and finally petered out just after dawn to leave a sopping wet landscape. However, the sun soon broke through and brought forth a flush of insects with great clouds of midges and flying ants rising off the scrub-clad storm beaches and around the willow scrub. It was quite a sight and perfect conditions for migrant hunting.
First off the back garden and several Willow Warblers were calling in the fir trees, plus a Spotted Flycatcher with more WWs next door and in the cattery shrubs; an encouraging start. Out onto the shingle and 3 grounded Wheatears and a Whinchat on the broom plus 5 Yellow Wagtails snapping up ants amongst the stones. A clump of gorse by the style at the south of the lake was jumping with WWs, Common Whitethroats, 2 Lesser `throats, a Garden Warbler and 2 Spotted Flycatchers plundering the myriads of flying insects. Further down the track Barney flushed a Common Redstart while more WWs and Common Whitethroats were logged. More warblers in the willow swamp, including Reed, Sedge and Cetti`s, plus another Spot Flit. Across south lake all the usual wildfowl, including Red-crested Pochard and Shelduck, 100 Sand Martins, 2 Common Sandpipers, plus Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier behind the `mirrors`.
On the walk back home I checked one of my favourite migrant traps; an isolated clump of scrub close to the back gardens of Leonard Road, and it too was alive with WWs, Common Whitethroats and 3 Lessers. Also of note this morning were loads (at least 50) of Dunnocks, presumably some of which must`ve been migrants as I don`t normally see anything like this number. Now, where`s that Wryneck...
ARC - 1200hrs - Plenty of interest here with waders coming and going the pick of which was a stunning juv Curlew Sandpiper, my first of the autumn. The cinnamon Ruff put in an appearance, plus 50 Lapwings, 5 Greenshanks, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Dunlins, 2 Redshanks, Snipe, Spotted Redshank and Blackwit. Also, pulses of Sand Martins, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, 6 Little Egrets, Black-necked Grebe and Garganey, plus Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler by the car park.
NB: Elsewhere today, 20 Wheatears, 18 Whinchats and 3 Pied Flits Galloways/Dengemarsh gully, 70 flava wagtails Scotney, Great White Egret Dengemarsh, 3 Black Terns and Little Gull The Patch, plus more common warblers and chats on the bird reserve and around the Dungeness Peninsula (SM, MH et al).