Lade - mild, cloudy, sw 3 - A circuit of the local patch this morning delivered the usual wildfowl on the lakes, plus 2 new Goldeneyes. Most of the ducks were on the more sheltered northerly water along with a flock of 500 gulls that included a smart adult Caspian Gull. Several hundred Coots were crammed onto the weedy waters round the willow swamp where they were continually harried by female Marsh Harriers.
There was much activity on the bay with an ebb tide attracting huge numbers of waders and gulls. From the Tavern a rough count through a 90 degree sweep went something like: 3,000 Black-headed, 1,500 Common, 900 Herring, 800 Great Blacks and 600 Lesser Black, plus 3 Meds, 2 Kittiwakes and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. There were hundreds more towards Littlestone and Dungeness.
Wader wise, seven out of ten species were present, plus 4 Shelducks and a sickly looking Brent Goose.
On the foreshore opposite the Tavern at least 50 Barrel Jellyfish had been beached by the high tide. These alien-like ocean drifters normally occur in the summer months following sustained south-westerlies, but it`s unusual to see such numbers about now as they normally go deep for the winter. Wandering around looking at these primitive animals, some about the size of a dinner plate, made me wonder how far they`d travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to end their days on a windswept beach in southern England. It all seemed just a little bit sad really, still that`s the natural world for you.
Walland Marsh - Accompanied CP to our usual watch point for the monthly harrier roost count, which was low at four birds, although at least a dozen others were in the general area. A Greylag flock held 10 White-fronts, and were our first of the winter, while small numbers of Bewick` Swans could be seen amongst the Mutes by Hook`s Wall. Other highlights included 5 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, 500 Lapwings, 5 Snipe, Bearded Tit, Cetti`s Warbler and best of all good views of a Merlin