Lade - 0900hrs - mild, cloudy, sw 5 - Drama from the off this morning when a whopping great female Sparrowhawk clobbered a Collared Dove sitting on the bird bath in the garden. The impact was immense with an `explosion` of feathers bringing instant death to the quivering dove. After a quick bit of `mantling` on the lawn and a look around old bright eyes flew off elsewhere to eat her breakfast, leaving behind a few downy feathers and a blood spatter on the bird bath.
Collared Doves are regularly taken by Sparrowhawks down here as they`re plentiful and have a habit of sitting in prominent positions, cooing away, almost inviting attack. Mrs PT`s cat also regularly `brings them in`, and I guess it`s only the doves` prodigious breeding rate that sustains their population; they`re already nesting in the garden fir trees.
Scotney - 1000hrs - Spent a couple of hours scouring the pits with BH for yesterdays diver, of which we could find no sign despite walking much of the cycle path. The wintering Long-tailed Duck showed briefly in between long periods of submergence at the Scotney Court end. Plenty of gulls and wildfowl were present including hundreds of Wigeon Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Mallard and Tufted Duck, plus Coot, Lapwings, feral geese, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Little and Great White Egrets, two Shelduck, 10 Pintail, three Goldeneye, Redshank, 20 Dunlin and two Egyptian Geese in a field at the Sussex end.