Lade -mild, cloudy, sw 3 - 0800hrs - Trudging around a local patch can be a touch mundane at times, but not so this morning as the old site delivered a couple of hours of top quality birding. A Great White Egret flying over south lake was a good start quickly followed by an adult Little Gull, a scarce bird here at any time, particularly in the winter. Three perched Marsh Harriers on the far side of the lake were eyeing up the Coots, ducks and grebes, and as a result had forced them into a mid-water flock and much closer for counting; its a sad, lonely life down here in the winter, some birders grill gulls for a living, while I find counting Coots therapeutic...
Anyhow, a Slavonian Grebe in their midst jollied things along nicely, being the first of the season at Lade, and what with one still on Hooker`s pit this morning (per OL), a second bird for the peninsula.
I continued counting Coots when I caught sight of a black and white bird landing on the water behind the flock - surely a `white nun`, but no, a swimming Avocet! How weird, this was turning into, `one of those mornings`, so I scrutinised the 200 foot wall mirror with great alacrity to check for a Wallcreeper flicking across the concave structure...
Stumbling out of my dream-like torpor, north lake delivered a redhead Smew in the channel by the swing bridge, Goldeneye, 2 Great White Egrets, a Little Egret and a Kingfisher, plus 2 Mediterranean Gulls amongst a 200 strong gull flock.
Although I`d seen all the above around Dungeness this past week its always satisfying to find them on your own turf. Oh, and as for the Coots, numbers are down to a paltry 1,120!
Walland Marsh - A flock of 26 adult Bewick`s Swans were in the field by the wind farm, while several Common Buzzards, Kestrels and Marsh Harriers noted en-route.
Hythe - On the way back from Folkestone this afternoon a check of the sea defence blocks along the promenade delivered 2 Purple Sandpipers in front of the fish restaurant at the bottom of Stade Street, but none opposite the Hythe Imperial. How on earth these plucky little waders manage to survive, Velcroed to the rocks against a blasting south-westerly and crashing surf is a mystery.
Tough birds indeed.