Lade - Storm Force 10 - 0730hrs - There`s something intoxicating about extreme weather and the latest named storm was certainly that. The associated heavy rain hit the flatlands during the early hours, but by dawn the clouds had cleared revealing slashes of welcome blue skies. However, the wind remained storm force throughout the morning, preventing the Cheyne Ct Wind Farm from operating, bringing down power cables across the road at Cockles Bridge and doing much damage to roofs and fences hereabouts.
Seawatching at Dungeness in a storm is rarely productive and I didn't fancy using the car, what with all the debris blowing everywhere, so we set off into the tempest for a circuit of the local patch. Once clear of the housing it was difficult to make any headway walking across the open shingle and twice Barney was blown over into a bush! We eventually made it to the edge of south lake where you couldn't stand upright due to the wind gusts.
A flock of Jackdaws grounded beside the lake didn't budge when we passed within 10 yards and incredibly, a pair of White Wagtails running about on the grass by the aerial mound seemed to make light of the conditions. As always in a south-westerly blow the ponds were completely sheltered, and bathed in warm sunshine, attracting singing Chaffinches, Reed Buntings, Dunnocks and a Chiffchaff, while Firecrests could be heard calling from the willow swamp.
Back home for a second breakfast and in the shelter of the garden fir trees we had terrific views of a couple of Firecrests and Chiffchaffs feeding around the pond, while the Goldcrest was in full song out front.
However, things took an extraordinary turn on the Firecrest front this afternoon. Whilst working in the kitchen with the door open and the sun streaming in I noticed a movement out the corner of my eye, it was a Firecrest - in the back porch! A certain Border terrier sat on the door mat a yard away had also seen it, but he stayed put like a good `un as the tiny sprite foraged around the porch picking off a couple of spiders. The whole episode was over in about 30 seconds, but it will live with me for ever.