Lade - 1045hrs - cold, cloudy, drizzle, ne 4 - Another cold wintry day with bits and pieces of rain and a brisk wind coming off the sea. Despite the poor weather we bagged all three species of hirundines during an hour on the local patch as birds came and went in the murk. The tally comprised five Sand Martins, three Swallows and a single House Martin, new for the year, while five Sandwich Terns screeched over north lake and several Chiffchaffs sang from the willow swamp.
Dungeness - The old lighthouse garden can be a frustrating place to watch due to thick cover. Quite often it appears to be empty, but put in a bit of time, as today, and something often pops up. Two Firecrests were typically elusive, calling most of the time but showing well enough eventually; as always cracking little waifs and one of my favourite migrants, a real Dungeness speciality. A Great Tit got me going for a while giving a passable Willow Tit `eeez-eeez-eeez` call, while Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Robin and Wren were all present somewhere. Just as I was about to leave Steven Message turned up and as we walked back to the garden chatting away, low and behold a female type Ring Ouzel showed briefly having been flushed by a Magpie.
New Diggings - With report (NB) of a Slavonian Grebe at the Boulderwall end of the lake, this afternoon we walked across the shingle from the old farmhouse to get the light behind us where we had stunning views of an adult bird almost in full summer plumage. The Black-necked Grebe was also present over by the causeway road and two Swallows flew through heading north in the bright sunshine.
Afterwards we cut across the shingle, flushing a Red-legged Partridge, towards the back of Hookers to look for the reported Smews (BD) but failed miserably to find them. However, on the field towards Gun Club pit the two Tundra Bean Geese were amongst a mixed flock of Greylags and Canada Geese and a Grey Heron posed for the camera.
It had been another decent day in the field with a good mix of winter and spring migrants, bolstered by the unbelievable news on the way home that my beloved QPR had thrashed WBA 4-1 at the Hawthorns. Happy days indeed...
Other news today concerned the long staying Cattle Egrets at Brickwall Farm, a drake Scaup at Scotney (SM), plus migrant LRPs and Garganey around Dengemarsh.