Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sand Martins

Lade - cool, cloudy, sw 3, rain by mid-morning - A Chinese Character was new for the year in the garden trap, plus the first of many Flounced Rustics no doubt. Moth numbers were low, but did include 15 Silver Ys, probably as a result of the southerly, overnight winds.

                                Chinese Character

                               Silver Y

We flogged the local patch this morning, in cool conditions (sporting me cosy new DBO fleece), ideal weather for Barney who was bouncing around all over the place. First off we walked Mockmill that was full of Sedge Warbler families, some of which I reckon had second brooded, along with a sprinkling of Whitethroats, Linnets, Dunnocks, Blackbirds and two each of Cetti`s Warbler and Stonechat.
Crossing the Desert small groups of Sand Martins filtered south into the increasing head wind making for a Channel crossing, while over south lake there was at least 300 more hawking insects, the largest assemblage of the autumn so far. As migrant numbers have decreased over recent years Sand Martins are one of the last remaining mass, viz mig spectacles at Dungeness with many hundreds of thousands passing down the peninsula until mid September. In spring they`re almost a rarity but over the coming weeks are omnipresent as migrants look for the shortest sea crossing.

                                Curlews leaving their roost

                                                  Sand Martins

                                Tufted Duck brood

The rotting water weed along the margins continues to attract insects which in turn brings in Starlings, House Sparrows and Pied Wagtails, plus today three Commons and a Green Sandpiper. As we counted the wildfowl (including three new broods of Tufted Ducks on the water) the entire Lade Curlew flock of 220 birds flew from their roost site on the shingle towards the bay along with a calling Whimbrel.
Dungeness - With the wind veering southerly and reports of one or two shearwaters passing the point earlier we headed down to the fishing boats to join a small throng of regulars. Over the coming 90 minutes a steady movement of over 100 Gannets and a trickle of Common and Sandwich Terns passed by, plus singles of Fulmar and Little Tern and a flock of 15 Swifts. The weather window soon broke and as the rain returned, reducing visibility, we called it a day. 

                                Gannet, Dungeness

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