Friday, 8 May 2015

Pomarine Skuas, at last...

Dungeness - 0630hrs - mild, cloudy, ne 2 - With the wind dropping at last it actually felt like spring. Perfect for Poms you might think, what with the number further west yesterday at Portland... Mmm, but yet again it was another disappointing morning with few seabirds through.
A wander around the bushes revealed the usual Whitethroats, Linnets and the like, plus two singing Black Redstarts on the power station and a Jay along the edge of the trapping area.
Lade - We carried out the second breeding bird survey of the season looking specifically for summer breeders with Little Ringed Plover (1pr), Cuckoo, Wheatear (1pr), Yellow Wagtail (Lade north), Sedge and Reed Warblers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats all on territory elevating the local patch breeding bird list to around 50 species.
On the migrant front four Common Sandpipers flitted across north lake, while on the beach a flock of 25 Barwits, mostly in summer plum was a sight to behold.
Dungeness - 1500-1800hrs - south-east 2, low cloud and rain - A three hour seawatch from the fishing boats, with a bevy of regulars in a steady drizzle, produced a pedestrian passage of both Common and Sandwich Terns, a sprinkling of Gannets, Kittiwakes, scoters, Barwits, Oystercatchers, and auks, four Sanderling, five Little Terns and two Mergansers.
At around 1640hrs, with only PB remaining, a dark phase Arctic Skua approached just offshore, followed by two more light phase birds within ten minutes. However, in between was the cream we`d been waiting for: two adult Pomarine Skuas, with the lead bird sporting a very impressive set of cutlery. Poms have been thin on the ground so far this spring with birds on only three days, and these were my first of the spring. As always it was worth the soaking, and many former barren hours of seawatching, to see these iconic seabirds that are so associated with late spring at Dungeness.
For the full statistics of the afternoon seawatch please refer to:

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