Sunday, 17 December 2017

Long-tailed Duck

Saturday - Lade - cold and sunny, N 2 - Another bitterly cold morning following an overnight frost. On south lake the Long-tailed Duck was back, although it probably hadn't gone away just tucked up on the bank somewhere. It is, however, one of the most frustrating of birds, spending most of its time under water and only surfacing for the briefest of seconds. There was little else of note around the site.

Sunday -Lade - cold, misty, sunny, light airs - This morning dawned frosty and still with sub-zero overnight temperatures combining with the mist to turn the shingle landscape into a winter wonderland. A slippery walk across the hoar-frost smothered shingle to the pits delivered another scene of wonder as a bank of fog rolled across the main lake covered in an icy rime. Looking back to Dungeness the power station loomed threatenly out of the mist.
  Birdwise the Long-tailed duck had gone AWOL again, despite a couple of visiting groups of birders constantly scanning the far side of south lake. However, there was plenty of other stuff to see including a Bittern and Kingfisher on north lake, a Firecrest in the willow swamp and several Goldeneyes across both waters. Raptors were much in evidence with Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowak on the hunt.
Walland Marsh - By noon clouds rolled in from the south-west, the temperature rose with rain arriving by mid-afternoon - just right for the monthly harrier count! Chris and I tramped out to our watch point in dreary weather conditions and as a result only three Marsh Harriers came to roost. Two more were noted in the area along with two Buzzards and a ringtail Hen Harrier that went straight through towards the ranges. A mixed flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, five Little Egrets, a Great White Egret, plus several hundred Fieldfares completed a quiet session on Walland Marsh.

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