Chilham - 1100hrs - mild, sunny, light airs - Had to go off piste this morning to check out several sites on the North Downs for various articles. Afterwards we went over to Chilham where the Great Grey Shrike showed like a good `un in warm sunshine. I watched it hunting from a hedgerow, opposite Bagham Lane, for half an hour during which time it caught a small rodent and a Wren, but missed a Robin! Still, not a bad success rate; both of the kills were impaled on hawthorns. As always, a stunning bird and eminently watchable.
Hythe Sea Front - After sorting out a few things in a crowded town centre I headed for some light relief along the sea front where six Purple Sandpipers were amongst the concrete sea defence blocks, three each opposite Stade Street and Hythe Imperial. At least 20 Turnstones were present, plus a long dead Porpoise on the beach
Weekly Summary - With fine weather forecast for the weekend anyone contemplating a days birding should find the Dungeness area to their liking. The RSPB reserve has currently got at least 10 Great White Egrets scattered around the gravel pit lakes, plus a couple of Cattle Egrets coming and going between here and Rye, that are best searched for amongst the suckling herds on Dengemarsh. Back up birds on the lakes include Black-necked Grebe, Goosanders and Goldeneyes within the common wildfowl, while passerine flocks around the reserve should be checked for Firecrests and Chiffchaffs. Short-eared and Barn Owls have also been noted during the afternoon at Boulderwall, and on the Desert behind the water tower, and before dusk from Makepeace hide has delivered roosting egrets amongst the Cormorants and Caspian Gulls on what remains of the islands.
Elsewhere, the fields at Scotney have been full of plovers and wildfowl, plus a Little Stint and decent numbers of Tree Sparrows and Corn Buntings on the farmland out back. On Walland Marsh a large flock of Fieldfares can be found in the Midley area, but are mobile, while the first Bewick`s Swans have been located amongst Mutes in the Old Romney area. Lade Bay is worth a look for up to ten species of shorebirds, plus a lone male Snow Bunting on the tideline between the Varne and the Jolly Fisherman car park.
Finally, at Dungeness, although the sea has been pretty quiet this week it should still yield, with a bit of time, the likes of sea ducks, divers, auks and gulls, and the Trapping Area scrub for Firecrests and Woodcock. And of course there`s always the stuff we take for granted knocking around: Marsh Harrier, Raven, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Cetti`s Warbler, Bearded Tit, Little Owl, Peregrine, and Merlin etc...