Monday, 9 March 2015

Sand Martins and Chiffchaff

Lade - 0730hrs - cold, cloudy, sw 2 - Despite the return to gloomy weather a singing Chiffchaff in the willow swamp was a promising sign of the changing seasons. Yesterdays Shelducks had disappeared only to be replaced by a veritable `influx` of six Egyptian Geese, four of which were sat atop the wall `mirror` at one stage. Two Marsh Harriers quartered the airport fields and a Sparrowhawk set about a Starling flock without success.

                                Egyptian Geese, Lade

1400hrs - This afternoon whilst checking the Black-headed Gull colony on Kerton Road pits (20  birds already claiming nest sites on the island) two Sand Martins skimmed over the lake for five minutes before heading inland, and were easily my earliest record down here. Infact, Sand Martins can be thin on the ground as a spring migrant at Dungeness, which is in complete contrast to the return passage, from July to September, when tens of thousands pass through the peninsula.
Also around the pits were several pairs of Oystercatchers and Shelducks showing signs of preliminary nuptials and three Linnets overhead.

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