Lade - cool, sunny, sw 2 - 0700hrs - With clear skies overnight and an increasing south-westerly I guessed the sea would be quiet and that there would be few migrants at the point. The perfect morning then to set about the local patch checking on the breeding birds, a survey that is now in its tenth year. I do like this sort of thing, I think it brings out the hunter in me.
First off we headed south to the gravel pits and the gullery where at least 100 prs of Black-headed and several pairs of Med Gulls were present, although the cover is now so thick on the island that there could easily be double that number. Shelduck, Gadwall, Oystercatcher, Kestrel, Skylark and Mipit all showed signs of breeding. Mockmill yielded singing Linnets, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler, while Lapwing, Corn Bunting and Buzzard performed on the fields behind the `mirrors`.
Around the lakes five Cetti`s Warbler were recorded along with paired off Shoveler, Pochard, Teal, Great Crested and Little Grebes; the latter two already on nests. A Green Woodpecker nest hole was located in the willow swamp and a pair of Long-tailed Tits in gorse scrub. In all about 40, mainly resident species, showed signs of breeding across the site, and I should be able to add at least another ten as the summer migrants settle in, so not too bad a start.
Other bits and pieces around the place included a Great White Egret on south lake, two Whimbrels overhead, Stonechat, Marsh Harrier, Raven and Peregrine. A walk back along the foreshore yielded six species of shorebirds, plus 20 Sandwich and five Common Terns amongst the gulls.
During the course of three hours we notched up 72 species of birds and all within a mile of Plovers, now that`s what I call a local patch.