Lade - cold, cloudy, ne 4 - Its been a quiet weekend down here at Plovers as we prepare for a five day bird tour next week. When we have been out and about its felt like a return to winter with an icy wind out of the north all but blocking any passerine migration. However, it doesn't seem to have bothered the northbound waders with plenty of Whimbrels whistling overhead and Barwits dropping onto the sheep folds around Scotney; tough birds indeed.
On Saturday afternoon a couple of hours seawatching from the boats with two other optimists delivered a steady passage of Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns and at least one Arctic Tern. As is often the case at Dungeness, even when the wind is in the `wrong` direction, we scored with a Blue Fulmar, 60 Brents, 10 each of Barwit and Whimbrel, plus singles of Bonxie and Red-throated Diver, so all was not lost, and as usual on a quiet seawatch the banter was worth the visit alone!
Sunday - It was even colder today as the wind swung round to a north-westerly vector with the midday temperature a paltry 8C. Even so seven species of common warbler were heard or seen around the willow swamp at Lade, along with 20 Swallows and 10 House Martins over north lake. Two small parties of Whimbrels and Greenshanks flew through and a stunning male Marsh Harrier checked out the main reed bed. On the Desert 30 Linnets made for a welcome spectacle.
This afternoon we walked the beach where only a handful of Dunlins and Sanderlings were noted amongst the Curlews and Oystercatchers. On the pits a trickle of Swallows and House Martins heading north was the only sign of any migrants.