Friday, 12 May 2017

Woodchat Shrike

Lade - muggy, sunny, S 2 - 0700hrs - With some welcome overnight rain (about 6mm) for once it was wet underfoot for a circuit of the local patch where the highlight were two Spotted Flycatchers around the willow swamp (scarce here in spring) and a Ring Ouzel in Mockmill. A few Swifts and House Martins drifted over while both Hobby and Sparrowhawk were noted and the first Cootlets of the spring were on the water.
  An afternoon visit for butterflies delivered our first Brown Argus and Common Blues of the year along the old railway line footpath, while a number of Silver Y moths were disturbed from long grass. In the garden several Holly Blues were active in the sun traps.

                                Common Blue, Lade

Dungeness - A visit to the Patch this morning was unremarkable apart from an immature Lesser Black-backed Gull that exhibited the hallmarks of the Baltic race. An hour from the seawatch hide this afternoon was also quiet, apart from a superb Pomarine Skua sporting a magnificent set of cutlery that came in high over Rye bay before eventually descending to sea level the other side of the Cardinal buoy. Also noted a trickle of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Common and Sandwich Terns, auks and a Little Tern. The local beach Fox paid a visit just as we were leaving, although it was a touch wary of Barney, so wandered off down the path towards B station before crossing onto the foreshore.

                                Beach Fox

                                Woodchat Shrike, Dungeness

A late afternoon phone call from DB told of a Woodchat Shrike on the beach opposite South View cottage, necessitating a sharpish return to the point - and what a cracker it was, perched on an old gorse stump and sallying forth to feed. This was a new bird for me at Dungeness; if only I was keeping a year list... Unfortunately I didn`t have much time as guests were due in this evening, so only managed some poor record shots, although I`m sure there`ll be plenty of decent pics from the long lens on site. And yet another great find by local birder Dave Bunney.

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