Sunday, 2 October 2016

Start `em young

Saturday - Dungeness - 0800hrs - Fine, dry, sunny, showers later, w 2 - The perfect weather for a couple of hours at the point with my six year old grandson, and of course, Barney. Normally me and the dog amble around in silence, as he`s not a yapper; unlike Albert who never stops talking!  Anyhow, he soon nailed the Starling and House Sparrow flock, Magpie, crow and Pied Wagtail as we moved onto Chiffchaffs which this morning seemed to be everywhere following last nights rain. We must have easily seen 25 in the bushes between the lighthouse and the Obs, including some really close birds on the tree mallows by the garden fence, while I had a brief view of a Common Redstart. Working our way down the power station fence we had further good views of perched Linnets, Mipits and a splendid male Black Redstart; but I think Albert was more interested in the two blokes working atop one of the pylons! Singles of Grey Wagtail, Tree Pipit and Skylark went over unseen and two Kestrels hovered over the Desert.

                               Albert getting to grips with the finer points of bird ringing

  Moving onto the moat and more Chiffchaffs were flicking through the scrub, two of which were in the Heligoland trap fluttering towards the catching box. Luckily, along came DW and with a little help from PB the two waifs were soon in the box and bagged. Now, this is where little kids become really enthralled as back at the ringing hut Albert was able to see the Chiffs up close and being processed, while probing the warden with a few questions concerning the intricacies of bird migration; honestly, I don't know where he gets it from! It certainly made an impression on his young mind, and thanks again to David for showing him the ropes.
  We then walked back to the beach via the crow trap and a showy Wheatear on the power station wall. The Patch was quiet with only a few gulls milling over the boil, plus the regulation Gannets and Sandwich Terns offshore; although a Merlin chasing Linnets by the seawatch hide (unsuccessfully) was an action packed event.

     Autumnal Rustic, Black Rustic and Lunar Underwing, three common autumn moths

Back home we checked the garden moth trap, but yet again it was poor fare with only six common species and no migrants.
  In the afternoon en-route to the RSPB visitor centre two Glossy Ibises and a Cattle Egret were on show in the Boulderwall fields along with several Little and Great White Egrets, two Ruffs amongst the Lapwings, Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard.

                                Wheatear and Clouded Yellow, Lade

Sunday - Lade - 1100hrs - warm, sunny, nw 3 - A chillier feel to the weather than of late for a circuit of the local patch. While there wasn`t the numbers of yesterday, Chiffchaffs were noted throughout the walk and in the garden again along with two Blackcaps and a Goldcrest. A few hirundines, Goldfinches and Mipits trickled overhead, several Wheatears and Stonechats were perched atop bushes and posts, while our first Song Thrush (scarce here) of the autumn was flushed from cover.
The Curlew flock provided a fine spectacle coming off the bay to roost on the storm ridges and a single Clouded Yellow posed nicely on a hawksbit by north lake. Walking back along the beach at least four Grey Seals could be seen bobbing up and down as they fished for flatties on the high tide. 

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