Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Shag - an unexpected rarity

Lade - mild, cloudy, rain, sw 5 - Yesterday was another day of near continuous and heavy rain. While we made a couple of attempts to check the local patch, most of the wildfowl were hunkered down around the willow swamp. The Marsh Harriers must be having a tough time of it these past few days as hunting conditions have been far from suitable. Once again today was dominated by torrential rain and hail showers, but in between times a check of the pits revealed a Great White Egret on north lake to be of interest.
RSPB - Following a call from BD concerning an Avocet on what remains of the cormorant island on ARC a check from the causeway drew a blank, although it did put in a brief appearance on Burrowes later in the morning. However, the big news today concerned the discovery of a 1st winter Shag, by PK, amongst the Cormorants in front of Makepeace hide. By the time I arrived there was no sign of the bird from the hide but it was soon relocated swimming around in front of the visitors centre showing off a characteristic peaked forehead, slim bill and white chin. An adult bird had also been seen earlier with another on the sea at Dungeness suggesting something of a mini `wreck` in the stormy weather. Shags are a bit of a rarity down here on the pits, and its only the second one I`ve seen in ten years. The weather was appalling with driving rain, which is my excuse for the poor quality record shot!

                                Shag, Burrowes

                               Slavonian Grebe, Boulderwall

The Long-eared Owl seemed oblivious to the elements perched on its usual roost site behind the discovery pond, while an elusive `white nun` put in a fleeting appearance in flight over Burrowes. Also amongst the wildfowl from Makepeace hide several Pintails, Goldeneyes and 2 redhead Smew.
On the way out a Slavonian Grebe showed well on the pool by Boulderwall farmhouse.
An unexpectedly good day, despite the dreadful weather.

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