Thursday, 6 November 2014

Autumn meets summer

Lade - 0800hrs - cold, misty, dry and sunny - The first frost of the autumn down here on the coast heralded a cracking couple of hours on the local patch, dominated by a small drop in of thrushes in the bushes by the ponds; chiefly ten each of Blackbird and Song Thrush, plus five Fieldfares and two Ring Ouzels which were later seen on the scrub behind north lake. Whilst scanning from the causeway a Swallow flew over heading south, which is my latest record here, two Jays came in high from the north and a Kingfisher zipped over the water. Even better was to follow during a viz mig scan from the aerial mound when the first Bittern of the season put on a terrific show flying leisurely over the willow swamp and reedbed before eventually dropping in behind the wall `mirror`. A trickle of Chaffinches, Skylarks and alba wagtails passed overhead, while both Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier were noted over the farmland. All the usual wildfowl on the lakes including an increase in Shoveler and Teal numbers.
As it was high tide, and there were reports of large numbers of Little Auks in the North Sea, I rather optimistically checked the bay from here to Littlestone, as you never know...
A new `island` has appeared off the Varne comprising huge concrete blocks brought over on a barge from Holland, all part of construction work on a new sewer sluice and groyne project for the Environment Agency. I checked `em for Purple Sands and Turnstones, but there were none...

                                Rocky Island, Littlestone

Dungeness - 1415hrs - An hour at the fishing boats with PB, MH and SM yielded a steady flow of Gannets, auks and Kittiwakes offshore, plus 10 Med Gulls, five Little Gulls, 12 Common Scoters,  Teal, Red-throated Diver and 220 Brents in five separate groups, one of which cut the corner overland.
Called in at Lade on the way home to check for roosting birds, but the wind had picked up and in fading light there was little to see apart from a few Blackbirds and Magpies dropping in.
ps: Earlier this morning PB found a Red-rumped Swallow amongst a small flock of House Martins and Swallows by the caf√©, but they soon moved on. There was no sign of the shrike today.

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