Thursday, 25 September 2014

Raptors, shorebirds & terns

Cockles Bridge - 0900hrs - warm, dry sunny, w 2 - We kicked off at the bridge scanning for bits and bobs. Pretty soon we`d racked up several Marsh Harriers and Buzzards, at least 15 Kestrels and singles of Peregrine and Sparrowhawk. Mipits, Linnets, Yellow Wags and a Raven moved over and the stubble field opposite held at least 20 Skylarks, plus five Reed Buntings in the hedgerow.
Springfield Bridge - More raptors of the same ilk here plus a mixed flock of 50 Yellow Wagtails, Mipits and Reed Buntings. Great White and Little Egrets were on the lake and several Bearded Tits pinged from the reedbed. On the chicken sheds more Yellow Wags, a Chiffchaff and Black Redstart.
Galloways - A scan for chats revealed at least 10 Stonechats and two Wheatears, but little else.
Scotney - Slow going here with the main interest a flock of 100 Yellow Wags and Mipits, plus all the usual wildfowl and feral geese. On the way to the bird reserve for lunch we noted a Little Owl near Lydd.

                                Knots, Greatstone Beach

Greatstone Beach  - Brilliant session here for two hours counting shorebirds as they returned to their feeding grounds on a falling tide. First back was a smart flock of five Knot, followed eventually by 50 Dunlin, 30 Sanderling, 30 Barwits, 10 Turnstone, four Ringed Plover, three Redshanks, 500 Oystercatchers and 300 Curlews. Also, on the sand bars 155 Sandwich Terns, five Common and three Arctic Terns, best of all though was a Little Tern flying along the beach. On the shingle three Wheatears and several large pulses of hirundines south, plus three Grey Seals feeding just offshore.
Dungeness - We finished the day with an hour at the fishing boats where a large party of mostly gulls and Sandwich Terns were plundering a shoal of sprats. In the mix were several Gannets, Kittiwakes, a Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, three Common and one Arctic Terns, plus an Arctic Skua harrying the terns.
Another good days birding around the peninsula with, once again, Kestrels all over the place.

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