Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Dowels

Lade - 0900hrs - mild, sunny, w 6 - The much forecast rain failed to materialise, apart from the odd light shower, with the main weather feature being the gusty, gale force westerly wind battering the peninsula. On the local patch much the same wildfowl as during the week, most of them sheltering on north lake or in the willow swamp. A Marsh Harrier quartering the back reedbed needed all its flying skills to stay aloft and not be blown inland.
The Dowels  - With blue skies in the offing, and for a change of scene, we headed inland to check out the flooded fields between Snargate and the canal. At 13`6" below the high water mark the Dowels is the lowest point on the Romney Marshes and one of the last section to be inned; even today with modern drainage techniques it continues to flood and as a result remains largely permanent sheep pasture. The sheets of water either side of the railway line are certainly more extensive than I`ve seen and chatting to a local shepherd he confirmed as such. Birdwise there was little of note apart from several hundred Common Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, corvids and Starlings, plus three Little Egrets and two Grey Herons. The walk along from Kenardington bridge yielded few passerines due to the strong wind although we did log several Yellowhammers and Linnets. Barney flushed a Mink from the canal side which duly swam across the cut and scuttled up the far bank like grease lightening.

                                Flooded pasture, The Dowels

Walland Marsh - Back over the Rhee Wall we worked our way across Walland, via a flooded Fairfield and Midley, seeing very little apart from Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches and Greenfinches on the bird feeders. Near Lydd the Bewick`s Swan flock numbered 50 birds.

                                Bewick`s Swans, Walland Marsh

ARC - Called in at Hanson hide where I had cracking flight views of Kingfisher and Bittern. A large mixed flock of ducks were sheltering close to the willows until flushed by a Marsh Harrier, while three Smew and eight Goldeneyes were noted further out on the lake.

                               Fairfield Church, Walland Marsh

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