Lade - 0830hrs - cold, dry, cloudy, s 4 - Decided on a good look around the local patch this morning. It was hard going in the strong wind and as a result few passerines were noted; infact little of anything was seen really, as even the large flocks of ducks that have been present for weeks now appeared to have shipped out. Only 100 Teal around the willow swamp was of any note, although I did have a nice view of a Bittern flushed by Barney rooting around in brush along the causeway. At the northern end of north lake 25 Wigeon and two Goldeneye were sheltering from the wind and a Sparrowhawk zipped low over the water.
We then skirted around the pit and returned along the airport side, and immediately regretted it as to say it was wet under foot was an understatement! Flood water was everywhere, but we did flush a couple of Snipe, a Water Rail and a Hare. A Marsh Harrier flapped low over the runway and small flocks of Stock Doves and Lapwings were noted, but that was about it.
ARC - 1430hrs - A wander down to the pines yielded very little in the increasing wind with most of the wildfowl sheltering on the southern end along with a Great White Egret and two Littles.
Weekly Summary - Anyone planning a weekend visit would probably do best delaying until Sunday which looks the better day weather wise, with the following being a suggested route:
Dungeness - Seawatching from the fishing boats first thing should deliver good numbers of seabirds either on the move or feeding just offshore: divers, auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Little Gulls have been present on and off all week, along with a few ducks, waders and Bonxies, plus currently a 1st winter Glaucous Gull patrolling the foreshore from the Patch to the boats and still present today. The Hume`s Leaf Warbler remains at the south-western end of the trapping area.
RSPB - On the bird reserve the two Black-throated Divers are still on New Diggings and a Black-necked Grebe on Burrowes. Around the site are up to ten Smew, three Great White Egrets and all the usual Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard, Raven, Bittern, Bearded Tit (Hookers), Stonechat, Cetti`s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Tree Sparrow and Water Rail, while a male Hen Harrier has also been noted. The Glossy Ibis has been seen coming to roost between Firth and Makepiece hides earlier in the week and could well still be present; check the fields at Boulderwall for geese and waders.
Walland Marsh - At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck has been faithful to the farm end of the lake, while White-fronts and all the usual feral geese remain in the area, along with 40 odd Bewick`s Swans near Lydd.
Littlestone Golf Links - Finish the day here if the weather is good for up to three Short-eared Owls, plus a good chance of Merlin and Linnet (scarce in winter). Check the foreshore for up to ten species of waders.
Good luck and good birding!