Thursday, 12 March 2015

Spring has sprung - first Wheatears

Dungeness - 0800hrs - warm, dry and sunny - Being as it was a still, sunny day we decided to walk the beach from the lifeboat station to the concrete road and back. There was plenty on offer with the highlight being our first Wheatears of the season, typically perched up on old fishing huts, winches and concrete blocks. It really did feel like spring in the warm sunshine along with a sprinkling of grounded passerines including at least four Wheatears, six Black Redstarts, four Mipits, two Skylarks, Linnet, Stonechat and six Pied Wagtails. Also of note, a brown Merlin, two Shelducks, six Stock Doves, Kestrel and a Raven over calling.
PB turned up with news of `next-to-nothing` on the sea first thing, apart from a few Brents and a Goldeneye, which made me feel better about missing an early seawatch. 

                               Wheatears and Stock Dove, Dungeness

Lade - Nothing too exciting here apart from a small tortoiseshell on a clump of coltsfoot, two Shelducks on south lake, a singing Chiffchaff in the willow swamp and a Buzzard drinking on the lake margin over by the wall `mirror`, despite the attentions of four Magpies and a crow.
Working in the garden this afternoon I was surprised to see a Hummingbird Hawk-moth that briefly alighted on a pansy before disappearing as quickly as it arrived. Presumably this was an over-wintering insect and my first spring record at Plovers. 

                               Small tortoiseshell on coltsfoot

Dengemarsh - News broke late on, via Twitter, of a Slavonian Grebe on the lake at Dengemarsh `showing well` from Springfield bridge. By the time we arrived the grebe had gone awol along a channel in the reedbed, but fear not, whilst waiting for the little blighter to emerge into open water(which it didn't) we enjoyed brief views of Bittern and Great White Egret flying over Hookers, plus two Peregrines spooking the Golden Plovers, Lapwings and Starlings. In between times several well known (no names no pack drill) local raconteurs held court on the bridge telling jokes and anecdotes.

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