Thursday, 24 March 2016

A fall of Firecrests

Dungeness - mild, cloudy, sw 3 - An overnight change in the wind direction, coupled with low cloud, seemed to do the trick this morning as a number of migrants had dropped into the scrub around the point. In the vanguard was at least 10 Firecrests between the lighthouse garden and Lloyds, cracking little sprites calling away and feeding low down in cover. Small groups of newly arrived Chiffchaffs were busily fuelling up in the garden, hovering around the tops of yellow-flowered euphorbias and picking off small insects. By the light railway café a Coal Tit of the grey continental race (with leg iron) flitted through the gorse, plus 2 more Firecrests, 3 Blackbirds, a Goldcrest and 3 Woodcocks flushed from cover (thanks to Barney) that flew towards the trapping area. By the Britannia several more Chiffchaffs, 2 Black Redstarts and 5 Blackbirds completed a classic late March fall of migrants.

                                Chiffchaffs and Firecrest, Dungeness

  Along the foreshore there was still no sign of a Wheatear although one was reported from Dengemarsh gully this morning. All the expected Skylarks, Mipits, Pied Wagtails and Stock Doves noted, plus a flock of 200 Brents cutting across the peninsula. We briefly joined the seawatchers in the hide where more Brents, Common Scoters and a few Red-throated Divers were on the move.
Lade - In the early hours this morning large numbers of east bound Redwings could be heard streaming over the cottage in the darkness. No surprise to hear a Firecrest in the garden fir trees today, but an afternoon check of the pits for a hirundine drew a blank.

                                Barney in summer plumage

  News came through of a late Wheatear at Dungeness, opposite Spion Kop, but despite a thorough search all we could find was a Stonechat as the wind and rain picked up. A Spoonbill was on the wet fields at Boulderwall though distant.


  1. Well with southerly gales forecast this weekend along the south coast that might speed some migrants across the Channel, though they might regret the weather that they encounter here.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how these tiny migrants make it across the Channel only to be confronted by our inclement weather; I reckon they`re much tougher than we realise. As for the southerly blow forecast for tomorrow, we`ve got high hopes of a classic seawatch down here at Dungeness, but we shall see...