Saturday - Lade - mild, cloudy, sw 2 - 0730hrs - With the wind swinging round to a southerly vector the temperature picked up enabling the shorts to be worn a little longer. A 30 minute viz mig delivered a trickle of Goldfinches, Mipits, Skylarks, Swallows, Redpolls and Siskins. By the time we strolled down to the aerial mound the Osprey was already on site, perched atop the wall mirror alongside half a dozen Magpies. DE and staff from RSPB were also present enjoying this magnificent raptor and judging from the Twitter feed quite a few other visiting birders also connected throughout the day.
A late afternoon check revealed the Osprey still present, while two Short-eared Owls quartered Mockmill following a short, sharp shower.
West Hythe - 1100hrs - For a change of scene Mrs PT joined us for a walk along the RM Canal from the car park to Aldergate bridge and back. The canal was largely devoid of birds with only a handful of Moorhens and Mallards throughout, but by the dam two Grey Wagtails, a Green Sandpiper and a Kingfisher enlivened things up. Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests could be heard in the bank-side scrub along with Long-tailed Tits, Robins, a Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker and a pair of Bullfinches. On the farmland, Kestrel, Buzzard, a few Swallows and a Yellowhammer. Always a bonus on this walk is the chance to admire a fabulous stand of Grey Poplars on the north bank, plus the chance of a few African mammals along the way, of which we had superb views.
Sunday - Dungeness - showery, mild, se 4 - 0700 - 0830hrs - With the wind swinging around to the fabled south-easterly vector I tried a seawatch from the hide first thing, but it was a poor show by Dungeness standards with 300 Gannets, 20 Sandwich Terns, 20 Kittiwakes, 10 auks and scoters, five Med Gulls, a Bonxie and a Common Tern about the best we could muster.
However, the usual suspects were in the hide, and as always on a quiet watch `the craic was good` with the conversation this morning ranging from Siberian Accentors, and how unfair it is of that beastly Spurn to hog all the good migrants, to - Strictly Come Dancing!! Surprisingly there were one or two real Strictly aficionados present (no names no pack drill) and they soon got onto the finer points of a Rumba and Foxtrot from last nights show; it sounded a bit like a couple of hoary old birders trying to split a Semi-p from a Little Stint, you know the kind of thing, all flicks, kicks and palmations... Anyhow, I`m no particular fan of the prancing show but as Mrs PT is addicted, osmosis must have taken place as I found myself chipping in now and then. The conversation then moved onto more tedious subjects such as Brexit, Donald Trump, the plummeting pound, the weather and if we are ever going to get a decent crop of autumn rarities down here...
Lade - 1000hrs - The monthly WeBS count didn't take long as there were few wildfowl present with a top count of 85 Shovelers the best muster. A few Swallows, Skylarks and a late Sand Martin, plus a Rock Pipit moved overhead, while a flock of five Ring Ouzels showed briefly on the scrub by north lake. There was no sign of the Osprey whilst I was on site this morning.
Walland Marsh - 1600hrs - Winter must be on the way as its that time of year again to join CP for the monthly harrier count out on the Marsh where, sadly, many of the grassy headlands around the site had gone under the plough this autumn. Unsure whether this is anything to do with the impending Brexit, but that`s a lot of good Barn Owl hunting habitat lost. On the plus side 20 Marsh Harriers came to roost, while three Buzzards, three Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk, a Bittern, Snipe and several Reed Buntings also noted.