Monday, 7 December 2015

December Balearics

Dungeness - 0815-0930hrs - mild, sunny, ssw 3 - We joined the locals for a seawatch from the fishing boats this morning where a warm onshore wind kept the seabird interest ticking over. The highlight was 3 down-Channel Balearic Shearwaters, which I`m almost sure are my first in December. The main feature of the watch though was a trickle of Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Gannets, 12 Red-throated Divers and 3 Fulmars, plus 50 Great Crested Grebes on the sea.
On the beach an adult Yellow-legged Gull was amongst the roosting Black-backs and Herring Gulls.

Lade - No change here from the weekend although it was fascinating to watch a pair of Marsh Harriers trying to work out how to get Coot on their breakfast menu. With so many bunched together by the willow swamp their strategy was to scatter and divide looking for a weakling. The much larger female dropped onto one bird which then dived leaving the harrier floundering amongst the water weed. The smaller male thought better of it and drifted off to search for more suitable prey; while I`ve often seen mature adult females kill Coots, mostly in the winter when they`re desperate, I`ve yet to witness a male doing likewise.Whilst watching the Coot/harrier shenanigans a Kingfisher flashed by with a Sparrowhawk in hot pursuit!
At last knockings we wandered across to Mockmill, into a glorious setting sun, where the wintering Short-eared Owl was already on the wing gliding over the sewer searching for a meal. As the light fell away hundreds of corvids flew to roost along with 5 Marsh Harriers and 3 Little Egrets. On the walk back a cacophony of Water Rails kicked off in the main reedbed on south lake.

                                Sunset over Mockmill

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