Lade - mild, sunny, w 5 - 0800hrs - After a week away it was a sobering sight on the local patch with all the islands and muddy margins now flooded and the water at winter levels. However, we gave it a going over but for little return, although at least 5 Chiffchaffs and a Cetti`s Warbler were calling around the willow swamp. On the open water two large groups of Wigeon and Shoveler totalled 150 while a juv Marsh Harrier spent some time in the middle of south lake `worrying` a flock of Coot. The harrier seemed to expend a lot of energy in the blustery wind `testing` out the Coots and looking for a weakling with no reward, before retiring to the reed-bed to consider its next move. Coots are regularly taken by Marsh Harriers down here, usually by the larger females, and over the years we`ve witnessed some pretty gruesome encounters which, for a successful kill, usually means the Coot being partially drowned before being ripped apart in the shallows whilst still alive and kicking.
Scotney - Following a call from MH we ventured out this afternoon to see a smart Long-tailed Duck, just out from the grassy spit by the double bend and firmly in Sussex. As always they`re a real treat, and just about annual down here, with Scotney being one of the most reliable sites.
Dungeness - News from PB that the 2 Purple Sandpipers from yesterday were showing well at the boats prompted a last gasp dash to the foreshore, dodging the day-trippers en-route and the huge pot-holes that now dominate the estate road. The two Purps were picking over seaweed with a group of Turnstones so we settled down and let the birds come to us. Now I should have cracking shots but due to the vagaries of bridge cameras focusing on every damm pebble nearby, but not the bird, all I could come up with is the pic above. Most frustrating and if anyone has any way around the focusing problem with this type of camera I`d be pleased to hear.
PS: Other local news concerned the Glossy Ibis and Great White Egrets still on the bird reserve, while two Yellow-browed Warblers were reported in the Trapping Area.