Lade - 0500hrs - warm, dry, cloudy, light airs - Phew, a muggy old night made for difficult sleeping, so we were up and about early before doing breakfast for guests. Plenty of moths in the garden trap including Canary-shouldered Thorn and Spectacle new for the year, plus double figures of Garden Tigers and Scalloped Oaks.
Whilst emptying the mv a sea mist briefly rolled in, after which the sun broke through and a snatch of Willow Warbler song was heard in a neighbouring garden. Walking down to the pits several more were seen and heard, including one perched on overhead wires amid a flock of Linnets. Checked the gravel pits to the south where all was quiet now the gullery had dispersed. Family broods of Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Shelduck were on the water, plus migrant Dunlin, LRP and Common Sandpiper around the margins. Barney added Cuckoo (a juv) to his `flushed list` whilst snuffling around looking for rabbits in the scrub, whilst Kestrel and Marsh Harrier were hunting over the Desert.
When you watch a local patch on a near daily basis you tend to get attached to regular breeding birds. Take for example the Scaffold Island Oystercatchers (mmm, good name for a band, perhaps...). Well, today their two fledged young had made it off the island and on to the storm beaches between south lake and the houses. The adults were in close attendance piping away at the dog walkers who were oblivious to their anxieties. I know most of the walkers hereabouts, being one myself, and after explaining to several what was going on they were as keen as me to see no harm came their way. Anyhow, the young `uns could fly if necessary so I felt ok about leaving `my` Oycs to their fate.
Similarly, in the garden `our` Woodpigeons have brought forth their latest brood of squabs to flying stage and were being `eyed-up` by Mrs PT`s cat, Jim, with whom I have a love/hate relationship. He`s cracking on now in cat years (8) but his low point for me was when he brought in a Firecrest, followed by a Reed Warbler about five years ago. Now he`s slowed up he tends to concentrate more on rodents, which is ok by me as the little buggers are everywhere. However, after a few squirts from the water pistol he forgot all about the Woodies and soon retreated back into cover for the morning and yet more sleep.
Whilst swimming in the bay around midday at least 20 Sandwich Terns were noted coming and going having successfully caught small fish on the high tide.