Dungeness Peninsula - cool, cloudy, n 2 - Well, what with a Bank Holiday weekend looming, not a lot actually, at least by Dungeness standards. The sea has been mostly disappointing this week, mainly due to the wind direction, although things may change tomorrow as the wind is due to swing around to a southerly vector. An immature Iceland Gull has remained faithful to the Patch, and if you`re considering taking a swim in the balmy waters of the English Channel, then think again - there`s a killer Grey Seal on the loose chomping up Porpoises, and you never quite know what will be next on its menu!
On the land a scattering of Wheatears, Ring Ouzels and Willow Warblers are still present along with the occasional Whinchat, although Black Redstarts appear to be absent. On the bird reserve the warbler tribe are well ensconced in scrub and reedbed alongside Cuckoos, the first Hobbies over Dengemarsh, `booming` Bitterns, food-passing Marsh Harriers, a Nightingale near Hanson hide and hirundines and Swifts coming and going overhead.
On the lakes, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes have been seen on New Diggings and Lade respectively while the Ring-necked Duck has moved to Burrowes, which is looking to be the best bet for a drop in of waders as the drought continues to deliver lots of muddy islands. Few terns have been seen so far and the hayfields are largely unproductive due to the cessation of water pumping and drying out.
Scotney on the other hand has been most productive with the front fields delivering a host of passage Whimbrels and Barwits, while the farmyard fields have been good for Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings. Outback, Avocets, LRP, Common Sandpiper and Greenshank have all been noted on the gravel pit lakes.
I would expect one or two goodies to be found over the weekend as visiting birders move in. A Red-rumped Swallow or a Hoopoe would be nice, but a Great Spotted Cuckoo or a Little Bittern would be better, we shall just have to wait and see...