Lade - 0700hrs - cool, sunny, w 3, showery later - Every so often I spend a birding day locally, which is not only good for the old carbon footprint but also saves on fuel as the car remains firmly on the driveway. However, these high and mighty principles can be difficult to adhere to at this time of year when the sweet shop down the road is full of lovely waders. Truth be told though I`ve always enjoyed a local patch and let`s face it Lade pits and the surrounding environs ain`t such a bad place; while Barney, my birding companion, simply loves this sort of a day, as there`s no sitting around seawatching, just good old fashioned, honest-to-goodness local patching (if there is such a word) across the shingle (really must get a pair of those back-stays) with the added bonus for him of other dogs to sniff around and chase.
Anyhow, today was red-letter day as an Egyptian Goose on south lake, beside a family party of Shelducks, was a site tick - what a start, it couldn`t get much better, could it...? Well actually it didn`t really as the brisk westerly meant that many passage migrants remained in cover. However, we did eventually come up with 20 Chiffchaffs in the reed-swamp along with lesser numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers and a single Common Whitethroat. On the storm beaches there were 10 grounded Mipits, while overhead a few more passed south along with a couple of Yellow Wagtails. As the tide came in 80 Curlews, 10 Redshanks and 5 Ringed Plovers flew over to roost on the desert, while the Black-necked Grebe remained on south lake and 2 Marsh Harriers hunted behind the `mirrors`. Back home and several more Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler in the garden.
An afternoon visit, whilst dodging the heavy showers, produced a few more warblers, a Merlin and 50 House Martins feeding over the willows.