Lade - 0700hrs - cool, cloudy, nw 3 - Five Swifts and a trickle of Sand Martins over south lake were the only migrants of note on a nippy old morning, plus several Yellow Wagtails overhead.
Chavford - Once the guests had departed we made our bi-annual trip to Chavford. We don't venture off the Marsh much these days (can`t stand hills), but some stuff just cannot be done on line - you know the sort of thing, if you want a new pair of boots and have elephantine feet (like mine) you`ve just got to try `em on, there`s no getting away from it.
Now, I`ll come clean, I hate shopping with a passion, I cannot think of a bigger waste of birding down-time, plus loads of people wandering around aimlessly freaks me out a little bit. Expeditions such as these have to be meticulously planned, nothing left to chance and no deviating from an agreed route, as it`ll only end up in a row with your loved one.
Our first stop a retail park on the outskirts of town where we drove passed a gigantic flock of Canada Geese at the entrance to a building site. While Mrs PT did the girly stuff in a fabric shop I bloked off to Wickes to buy manly nails, screws and the like. So far so good. Then it was into Chavford town centre where things went steadily downhill, dodging the drunks and wastrels, gobbing and `effing this and `effing that, but I wont go into details, its just too painful. Our last port of call was the outlet centre which was full of kids getting togged up on the cheap for the coming school year. Mrs PT bucked up a bit here as she found a pair of trainers and I got a tasty pasty so it wasn't a complete waste of time, and over all we did hit 8/10 of our targets, so job done really.
On return to paradise we noted eight Buzzards between Kingsnorth and Brenzett, including a `kettle` of four near Hamstreet.
Cockles Bridge - On the way to the allotment (I just had to let off steam) we had good views of the juv Monty`s over the corn fields heading towards the airport. Several Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel also noted.
ARC - From Screen hide five Blackwits and a Redshank, plus a load of Lapwings amongst the usual wildfowl.