Lade - 0630hrs - An extraordinary day in more ways than one. Firstly the weather. It started off cool, with high cloud and light airs affording incredible visibility across the Channel, so much so that the Belgium coast was clearly visible along with all the usual French promontories such as Cap-Griz-Nez. By mid-morning the sun broke through and the temperature rose into the mid-teens, until early afternoon when a bank of fog/mist/sea fret, call it what you will, rolled in depressing temperatures into single figures.
As for the birds, it was all about Blackcaps, and lots of them. As we headed out to work the local patch Willow Warbler song could be heard in back gardens hereabouts, always a good sign. A Blackcap was in the cattery garden at the bottom of Taylor Road with several more Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers in the scrub as we crossed the shingle ridges. A Ring Ouzel flushed from the cover by south lake headed for the willow swamp and 15 Med Gulls flew over heading inland. Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler were all seen or heard around the willow swamp and six Swallows flew through. Back home and a Black Redstart on the garden fence ended a profitable tour of Lade.
Kerton Road Café - More Blackcaps and phlloscs here during the morning, plus a Black Redstart. At midday the Herring Gulls went ballistic as a Red Kite cut in off the bay and headed north along the coastline.
Dungeness - News was filtering through from the point of a significant fall of migrants with Blackcaps in the vanguard. There must`ve been 50 in the scrub around the old lighthouse and down to the Bird Observatory as migrants continued to arrive during the afternoon; one flock alone by Lloyds comprised 12 birds. There was also plenty of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs on offer, plus two each of Ring Ouzel and Common Redstart, Whitethroat, Black Redstart, Swallows and the icing on the cake a stunning male Pied Flycatcher. Also reported at the point today a flyover Woodlark and Tree Pipit, plus a singing Lesser Whitethroat.
But it was all about the Blackcaps to be fair, and as for how many hundreds were involved in this fall across the peninsula is any ones guess.