Lade - mild, overcast, light airs - Perfect weather for a wander across the Desert to Mockmill searching for Dartford Warblers on the gorse ridges. Two Stonechats, a Snipe, singing Cetti`s Warblers and Reed Buntings were logged, plus distant Marsh Harriers over Airport pits, but no sign of the elusive scrub warbler. On south lake 200 Teal was a noteworthy count for the time of year amongst lesser numbers of the usual Coots, grebes and diving ducks. Around the ponds myriads of midges dancing over the willows attracted a couple of Chiffchaffs, and even the Blue and Great Tits were drawn to the feast, snapping up insects with great aplomb. A Med Gull and Goldeneye were present on north lake.
Walking back beside south lake the local Herring Gulls kicked off big style along the coastal housing strip. I expected to see a pond-dipping Grey Heron getting a ritual hammering as it flapped back towards the lakes, or maybe a Sparrowhawk hunting the garden bird feeders, but neither hove into view.
And then way up in the ether I spotted a distant bird with a stiff-winged flight action coming in off the bay. My first thought was Peregrine as they can appear to be `flappy` in the absence of wind; however, as it came closer and lower I was astonished to see that it was a Fulmar! Now, you expect Fulmars on a day like yesterday at Dungeness with a raging southerly blow, but not heading inland in flat calm conditions. Anyhow, the said bird must`ve got wind of the welcome party below as it quickly gained height, circled over north lake and then headed back out to sea where it belonged. I`m assuming the gulls thought the Fulmar to be a threat as they soon stopped yelping when it disappeared.
This is my first record of Fulmar on the local patch (I`ve not even seen one in the bay before) thanks to those adorable Herring Gulls...
This afternoon we walked down to the Tavern to scan the beach on a falling tide. The most obvious bird was a Black Swan sat on the sands by the tideline, having already been seen at Dungeness earlier; this long-distance migrant was yet another new bird for the local patch, well kind of...
A Sandwich Tern flew in and settled amongst the gulls on the sands at the Lade end and would have been new for year, if only I was keeping such a list, while at least 10 Med Gulls were present with others calling overhead.
The wader count was as follows: Oystercatcher - 480, Ringed Plover 25, Grey Plover 2, Knot 75, Sanderling 350, Dunlin 150, Barwit 15, Curlew 260, Redshank 5, Turnstone 18. All 10 species present and correct, but no doubt I missed a few more at the Littlestone end of the beach.