Dry, mild and sunny morning, showery afternoon, sw 3 - Spent today with MH, CP and PL on a deferred NYD bird count due to yesterdays monsoon. The weather behaved itself for most of the day as we made our way from the Wealden woods across the Marsh to the coast. The amount of standing water on the farmland was incredible with one or two lanes just about passable with care.
Park Wood - 0715hrs - Tawny Owls were in good voice as we pulled up in the car park and over the next 90 minutes we noted all the expected woodland birds: Nuthatch, Treecreeper, 2 woodpeckers, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Goldcrest, Jay, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Common Buzzard.
Kenardington - Either side of the canal bridge a rush of new birds were logged: Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Mipit, Reed Bunting, Stonechat and the only Linnet and Chiffchaff of the day.
A flooded area towards Warehorne attracted Pintail, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon and all the regular gulls.
It was good to see plenty of Song Thrushes and Blackbirds along the hedgerows, but there were few winter thrushes here and elsewhere across the Marsh.
Walland - A cracking male Peregrine sat in the middle of a field was about the only noteworthy bird as we headed towards Lydd, along with Kestrel and Sparrowhawk as passerines were virtually absent. At the Midley feeders Tree Sparrow and Goldfinch noted, plus Golden Plover and Marsh Harrier at Cheyne Ct, while the Bewick`s Swan flock remained in the field near Caldecote Lane.
Scotney - Plenty of common wildfowl, waders and gulls including Goldeneye, Pintail, Goosander, Shelduck, Dunlin, Redshank, plus Little and Great White Egrets, but there was no sign of the wintering Long-tailed Duck.
Dungeness - A seawatch from the concrete road delivered all the expected seabirds - Kittiwake, Gannets, Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Guillemot and a single Brent, plus a white-winged Great Crested Grebe.
Lade - After failing to find the RCP on south pit (moved to ARC?) we scored with nine out of ten waders on the bay, but only single figure counts for Ringed Plover, Knot and Grey Plover.
RSPB - Finished up on the bird reserve where Black-necked Grebe and 2 Goosander were on Burrowes; 2 Smew and 2 Red-crested Pochard on ARC plus all the usual diving ducks, 4 Great White Egrets and all the expected wildfowl and gulls, although in low numbers. Our final stakeout was from the ramp overlooking Hookers reedbed and Dengemarsh (which are now joined due to the high water levels) where Bearded Tit, Water Rail and Cetti`s Warbler were heard. At least 6 Marsh Harriers came and went and another Peregrine was seen. As the light faded a mass of corvids headed to roost over by Long Pits.
Another great NY bird count (101 species) in good company, that will long be remembered for the amount of floodwater on the Marsh, the paucity of passerines and the packed lunch of one member of the group which comprised of crisps and Jaffa cakes!
NB: A Hume`s Leaf Warbler was located at the southern end of the Trapping Area this afternoon. Welly boots are a necessity as much of the willow scrub is under water.