Sunday, 19 February 2017

First Sandwich Tern

Saturday - Dungeness - warm, dry, sunny, sw 2 - A superb spring-like morning with the highlight being our first Sandwich Tern of the year passing up-Channel off the fishing boats. On and over the sea hundreds of Great Crested Grebes, Guillemots, Gannets and Cormorants, plus a few Brents, Red-throated Divers and Common Scoters on the move. At the Patch two 1st winter Iceland Gulls and a Caspian Gull. The land was pretty much deserted apart from a Peregrine perched on a pylon by A station, while a search of the complex for Black Redstart drew a blank.
  On the bird reserve the usual Ring-necked Duck on Cook`s Pool, Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings and a Smew on ARC. I had to call in the visitor centre around midday where the car park was jam-packed with weekend birders, needless to say that`s as far as I got.
  This afternoon the intention was to check for birds going to roost behind the pits until a bank of fog rolled in off the sea, and that was that for the day.
Sunday - Lade - warm, dry, cloudy, w 3 - Another fine day for a circuit of the local patch where the only birds of note were a Great White Egret on south lake and a showy Cetti`s Warbler in the causeway scrub. A balloon fest on the beach made for a colourful spectacle whilst checking the shorebirds on a flood tide.
Walland Marsh - Accompanied CP for the monthly harrier roost count this afternoon to our usual spot on Walland where 15 Marsh Harriers came to roost, including eight adult males, plus a ringtail Hen Harrier.  Also noted in the area were four Common Buzzards, two Merlins, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk on the raptor front. On the arable fields, 91 Bewick`s Swans and 500 Golden Plovers, plus 12 Corn Buntings, Stonechat, Cetti`s Warblers, Bearded Tit, Reed Bunting and several Water Rails calling from the reedbed. Yet again there was no sign of any Barn Owl activity.

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