Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Sand Martins

Lade - 0700hrs - warm dry and sunny, n 2 - A distinctly damp, autumnal feel first thing, but it quickly warmed up as the sun rose. Following a clear night it did not bode well for migrant hunting this morning and so it proved to be with only a scattering of Common Whitethroats of note in the Mockmill Sewer scrub, plus 5 Yellow Wagtails over, 2 Wheatears, Whinchat and, surprisingly, a Pied Flycatcher in the willows. On south lake the Red-crested Pochard was still present, plus Common and Green Sandpipers around the margins.

                                Red-crested Pochard, Lade

However, spectacle of the morning went to a couple of hundred Sand Martins that were hawking insects low over the desert scrub. We sat amongst them as they flitted around us only yards away; even Barney seemed impressed. Periodically they flopped onto a shingle mound, twittering away to one another and then suddenly, en-masse, up and away they went south, no doubt crossing the Channel in the fine weather. By nightfall they were probably roosting in a reed bed somewhere down the French coast.

                                Sand Martins, Lade Desert

Lade Bay - 1730hrs - A very pleasant walk along the beach to Greatstone this evening on a falling tide which left thousands of cockles stranded and gasping along the tideline gloop; mind you, the gulls, waders and even a few crows weren`t complaining. Several juv Sanderlings fed only yards away and were so confiding they didn`t even fly when Barney was snuffling around close by. Out on the bay the five main species of shorebirds were present in similar numbers to yesterday, plus a lone Barwit. On the walk back a massive hatch of flying insects swarmed off the shingle attracting hundreds of Black-headed Gulls.  Singles of Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail also noted.

                                Cockles, Lade Bay

                                Juvenile Sanderling, Lade Bay

NB: Other news around the Peninsula today included a scattering of Pied Flycatchers, Wryneck near Long Pits (per MH) and an Osprey over Burrowes (SB).

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