Sunday, 20 March 2016

Harriers, again...

Lade - cold, grey, drizzle, ne 2 - These past few days have seen no change to the birding scene locally and mostly with the dreaded north-easterly nagging away and keeping temperatures low.
On the local patch there has been a slight increase in Mipits and Reed Buntings, plus a trickle of Chaffinches over and on Friday a Siskin. All the usual waders were on the beach, including an increase in Knot to 160 and most days Med Gulls have been seen or heard.

                                Black-necked Grebes, New Diggings

  On the bird reserve the Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes remain faithful to New Diggings and yesterday there was still a redhead Smew at the back of ARC from the pines. Good numbers of Great White and Little Egrets are using the ARC roost, a Bittern was heard `booming` and Marsh Harriers are displaying over Dengemarsh.


Dungeness - A circuit of the point this morning proved to be very quiet with just a few Mipits, Skylarks and Pied Wagtails along the beach and a couple of Chiffchaffs in the bushes. From the seawatch hide a 30 minute scan delivered a trickle of Gannets and a couple of Red-throated Divers.
Scotney - It wasn't much better here with a Black-necked Grebe and Med Gull on the lake, plus 4 Dunlins, 2 Curlews and Redshank on the grass.
Dengemarsh - A small flock of Rock Pipits found earlier by PB near Hayfield 3 were relocated in the stony field by Springfield Bridge. At least two exhibited plumage details of the Scandinavian race littoralis. Also in the field a scattering of Pied Wagtails, Reed Buntings and Mipits. Elsewhere, a Great White Egret, 4 Dunlin, 10 Lapwing , 6 Shelduck, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Raven.
Boulderwall - Still plenty of Wigeon, Lapwings, Curlews, corvids, feral geese, egrets, Marsh Harriers, Grey Herons and the like on the pools and fields from the access road at the reserve entrance.
Walland Marsh - For reasons best known to the organisers last Sunday`s harrier count was deemed null and void, so out we went again this afternoon onto the flatlands with CP. This week only 4 Marsh Harriers came to roost in the reed bed with a supporting cast of 6 Buzzards, a Merlin and one or two Barn Owls in near constant view. Also noted a Great White Egret, 2 Shelducks, Golden Plovers, 20 Snipe, Cetti`s Warbler, Water Rail, Mipits, 10 Reed and 4 Corn Buntings.


  1. I was surprised when you carried out the Harrier Roost count a week earlier than the rest of us. Our date here on Sheppey has always been the 20th March, so perhaps somebody your end got the dates muddled up.

  2. That`s the second time this winter. For consistency it would make sense to keep the harrier roost count on the same day as the WeBS. However, it just goes to show the variation in numbers, with 22 and then 4 on consecutive Sundays. Why they vary so widely is a mystery.