Monday, 20 August 2018

Juvenile Marsh Harrier

Dungeness - muggy, overcast, light airs - We walked the Trapping Area first thing where a large mixed passerine flock contained several Willow Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats and a Blackcap amongst the tits and Chaffinches. A Tree Pipit flew over calling, plus a Ringed Plover.
  Had another go for the Galloways Wryneck today, without success, although it was seen earlier. Several Whinchats and Stonechats were some compensation, plus a superb close Hobby chasing a Swallow.
  An evening visit to ARC from Screen hide produced my first juvenile Marsh Harrier of the summer sat on an island. As far as I`m aware only one pair nested locally and this bird may have been from that site. Also, two Wood Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper noted on the islands along with two Garganeys.

                                Juvenile Dabchick, Lade

                                Juvenile Marsh Harrier, ARC

Lade - There was plenty of moths in the garden trap this morning of 25 species, but short on quality apart from some smart White-points. A quick scan of south lake from the aerial mound resulted in just the usual wildfowl.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Spotted Flycatcher

Lade -mild, cloudy, W 2 - These past couple of mornings have been quiet in the garden moth trap with just Angled Shades and Pale Grass Eggar of note, plus a Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the buddleia yesterday.
  My first proper visit to the local patch in over a week yielded very little change apart from a few more Willow and Sedge Warblers on the move in the willow swamp, plus a Greenshank yesterday and several Swifts south this morning. A Dartford Warbler was noted as well as several Stonechats, a trickle of Sand Martins, two Yellow Wagtails over and the first Spotted Flycatcher of autumn this morning.
  Also, early afternoon yesterday, the local Herring Gulls went into meltdown. Eventually I picked up a distant raptor flying towards ARC that appeared to be an Osprey, and was probably the same bird seen at the point around the same time by PB.
Dungeness - On Burrowes today up to 12 Black Terns amongst hundreds of Common Terns and a Green Sandpiper over the car park. Elsewhere, two each of Black-necked Grebe and Wood Sandpiper on ARC and two Whinchats and a Wheatear at Galloways, where a Wryneck was discovered later in the day by RW.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Black Terns

Dungeness/Lade - mild, cloudy, SW 3 - Started off at the point where the first of the days Black Terns noted at the Patch along with 20 Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns. Offshore a trickle of terns and Gannets west bound.
  On the bird reserve, from Hanson hide, the highlights were at least three Wood Sandpipers and a Spotted Redshank amongst 78 Golden Plovers, 200 Lapwings, two Redshanks, Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper. Also on the islands a Med Gull and Garganey, plus a Black-necked Grebe and Black Tern on the lake. On Burrowes four more Black Terns and hundreds of Common Terns.
  A one hour seawatch from the fishing boats this afternoon produced a steady flow of terns, Gannets and Kittiwakes, plus four Arctic Skuas.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Folkestone Warren

Folkestone Warren - wet and cloudy - Just spent the past three days at a family gathering camping at Little Switzerland. The camp site overlooked Folkestone Warren with the pitches cut into hillside terraces surrounded by trees and scrub. This morning Lesser Whitethroats were everywhere, calling from cover and showing occasionally, while Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers were also noted; what else must go through here in the autumn is anybody`s guess...
  The view from the café terrace looking back along the chalk cliffs towards Samphire Hoe and across the Channel were simply stunning and a two hour watch yesterday produced three Buzzards and two Sparrowhawks west, plus the local Peregrines, Kestrels and Ravens. Other birds noted during our stay were Tawny Owl, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tits and Bullfinch.
  Yesterday, down on the beach I walked along to Copt Point at low tide where at least 300 Mediterranean Gulls were loafing on the weed-strewn rocks along with hundreds more Black-headed and Herring Gulls, 25 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua that briefly harried the terns before heading west.  


                           
                                Little Switzerland, view from the terrace café

                                Barney chilling in the tent




                                Mediterranean Gulls, Copt Point

                                Common Lizard by the café

Lade - Many thanks to Chris P for calling in this afternoon to show us a superb Death`s-head Hawk-moth found recently along Coast Road, Lydd-on-Sea. 

                                    Death`s-head Hawk-moth, Lydd-on-Sea

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Cropredy

Cropredy - Rain, sun, cold, hot, still, windy, the lot! - Just back from the annual Fairport Convention Cropredy festival in the Cherwell valley, Oxfordshire with our friends Stan, Kaz and Dan from Greatstone. A crazy three days of music, beer drinking, eating badly and even crazier weather; on Friday night the temperature dropped to 7C and by midday Saturday it was back up to 25C, and as for the rain...! Despite the mixed weather it was a lot of fun meeting up with old folkie friends from far and wide.
  Thursday`s highlights were our favourites, Oysterband, who`ve now recruited two young `uns from the now defunct Bellowhead, followed by Brian Wilson (from Beach Boys fame) and his orchestra who were superb. Friday`s set was a mixed bag with the Barnsley Nightingale, Kate Rusby, having microphone problems and a very low key, almost acoustic set, from the normally fiery Levellers. However, Cregan and Co and The Travelling Band saved the day with outstanding performances that really got the crowd going.

                                Sunny Cropredy on Saturday afternoon

  And so to Saturday. Following a cold night in the tent we were in the arena early in bright sunshine for Richard Digance, as ever a real festival pleaser with his mix of anecdotes, jokes and bawdy ballards; plus a real tear-jerker about his home town of Salisbury and the aftermath of the nerve gas incidents. Three bands later Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys had just got the place rocking when the rain came down to dampen spirits through the Afro Celt Sound System set. Anyhow, us festival goers are made of stern stuff and we toughed it out until the legendary Al Stewart hit the stage, probably our all time favourite folkie, and he was on fine form along with Dave Nachmanoff and a guest appearance by Ralph Mctell. Eventually the rain relented and Fairport finished the festival with a massive tribute to the late Sandy Denny. A superb festival in great company with loads of laughs, mostly at Stan`s expense! We`ll be back next year for sure.
  Hang on though, isn't this supposed to be a birding blog I hear you say... Well, I did see more Swallows and House Martins over the fields of the Cherwell than I`ve seen all year down here, while Buzzards were regular over the festival site in the afternoon. And on the way home this morning I counted 21 Red Kites through the Stokenchurch cutting on the Chilterns. Normal service will be resumed sometime this week.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Ocean breeze

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, W4 - Following yesterday evenings uncomfortably humid conditions with thunder and lightening all around, but hardly any rain, this morning dawned bright and breezy as a cooling front swept across from the Atlantic delivering welcome, and `proper British`, summer temperatures. On the local patch two juvenile Dartford Warblers were flitting around the scrub by the cattery, which was something of a surprise considering the stiff breeze whipping across the shingle. In the shelter of the willow swamp more juvenile warblers were noted, mostly Reeds and Whitethroats and a couple of Willows. The Curlew flock and a Whimbrel flew into roost on the shingle as we left site.

                                Curlews flying in to roost






                                            Garden House Sparrows

The recent hot weather has seen us take most of our meals in the back garden these past couple of months under the shade of a gazebo. Common garden birds have provided a rich source of entertainment, particularly `our` House Sparrows, of which we have a resident flock of anything up to 50. Just watching their antics around the feeders, bathing in the pond and generally squabbling as sparrows do is pure joy.
Dungeness - On the bird reserve this morning, from Hanson hide, my first Black-necked Grebe of the autumn on the water amongst hundreds of common wildfowl and gulls, plus Common and Wood Sandpipers, LRPs, Golden Plover, Dunlin and Lapwings. On the left side of the hide in the shelter of the willows a Southern Migrant Hawker was amongst numerous Migrant Hawkers and a few Brown Hawkers.
  On Burrowes hundreds of Common Terns were kept on the move by a military helicopter. When they eventually settled in front of Firth hide at least one juvenile Black Tern was present. Common Sandpipers, LRPs and Ringed Plovers also noted. At Dengemarsh two Great White Egrets and 30 Yellow Wagtails in the weedy field by Springfield Bridge.

                                Black Tern amongst Commons

                                Black Hawk

                                Tern island

Monday, 6 August 2018

Willow Warblers

Dungeness - hot, dry, sunny, NE 2 - Another sultry start to the day with 20C from the off. Very few gulls at the Patch and just a handful of Common Terns, although a single Black Redstart was perched on the power station wall near the hide. At the Obs Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers were being processed, plus a recently fledged Black Redstart.
  A tour of the bird reserve this afternoon commenced at Burrowes with 220 Common Terns in front of Firth hide, plus several each of Common Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers scattered across the islands. From Hanson hide two Great White Egrets, a Garganey and several Willow Warblers from the boardwalk. Also noted Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and a flyover Bittern.
From Dengemarsh several Snipe, a Wood Sandpiper, a Ruff and two more Great White Egrets.


                                Juvenile Black Redstart and Willow Warbler at DBO

                                Massed ranks of terns and gull in front of Firth hide

Lade - A paltry 15 species of macro moths in the garden trap with the only highlight being another Jersey Tiger. There was no change on the local patch lakes from yesterday.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Sparrowhawk attack

Lade - hot, dry and sunny, E2 - With another hot day in prospect and light airs we were up and about early this morning checking the local patch for any warblers on the move. While a couple of Willow Warblers and Whitethroats were noted by the ponds the latter species could have been local birds, along with several parties of Reed, Sedge and Cetti`s Warblers, all with noisy juveniles begging for food from the adults. In Mockmill a pair of Stonechats fed a late brood while a family of Kestrels made a right old din over by the airport fields.

                                Great Crested Grebe on eggs

  South lake was again rammed with ducks, grebes, swans, Coots and Moorhens all feeding amongst great bundles of Canadian pond weed floating on the surface. My earlier fears of a grebe shortage have been well and truly put to bed as Dabchicks in particular were everywhere this morning with over 50 counted. Great Crested Grebes have now produced plenty of juvs and several were on brood number two on their floating nests.
  Whilst sat down counting wildfowl by the tunnel I noticed a Sparrowhawk winging in over the lake and clobber a Magpie. Pandemonium then ensued as the adults and siblings mobbed the raptor, but to no avail as they lost one of their family. The large female Sparrowhawk carried on plucking the corpse before flying off into the willow swamp to feed her noisy juveniles.
  Numbers in the garden moth trap were much reduced last night, but did include some quality in the form of Jersey and Garden Tigers, Gold Spot, Oak Eggar and the first Shark of the summer.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Pied Flycatcher

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, N 3 - Following a balmy night it was no surprise to find a decent number of moths in the garden trap this morning; 34 species of macros to be exact, including Rest Harrow, Gold Spot and a tatty Small Rufous which was new for the site.
  Plenty of birds on south lake this morning with Green and Common Sandpipers around the margins and a Greenshank that flew off calling loudly towards the water tower. At least 20 Common Terns were plucking small fry from the water, a Great White Egret flew over the willow swamp and a pulse of 50 Sand Martins went south. Around the ponds a family of Cetti`s Warblers were being unusually showy and at least two Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat moved through cover.

                                Gold Spot

Dungeness - Called in at Hanson hide around noon where several each of Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover, my first six Golden Plovers of the season amongst the Lapwings, a Wood Sandpiper, another Great White Egret and two Garganeys. On Burrowes six Avocets and a Black Tern from Firth hide.
  A message from DB told of a Pied Flycatcher on the estate which conveniently showed as soon as I arrived. Another was reported from Galloways this morning.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Mid-week doldrums

Lade/Dungeness - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - The past few days have been much of muchness. After the excitement of last weekend we seem to have hit the birding doldrums; and with clear overnight skies, even the garden moth trap has failed to deliver.
  Being as this is Dungeness though a few bits and pieces can be found around the bird reserve. A Wood Sandpiper seems to have taken up residence on ARC where also several Common Sandpipers, the odd Green, a couple of Blackwits, plus Snipe, Dunlin and Little Ringed Plover coming and going and up to four Garganeys. Bitterns continue to commute between their feeding grounds at Boulderwall and Tower pits to feed young. As yet I`ve not seen any juvenile Marsh Harriers on the wing, but if they have been successful locally they should be out and about soon. Burrowes has also attracted a few common waders while Firth hide is the place to view terns in late afternoon, around 100 Commons, two Blacks and a few Sandwich Terns. The autumn Sand Martin passage is also underway.
  On Lade bay thousands of gulls are present at low tide along with hundreds of Sandwich Terns and the usual large waders. Grey Seal numbers have peaked at 12 on an incoming tide. Around the garden buddleia today up to four Hummingbird Hawk-moths and three Holly Blues, but precious little else.


                               Holly Blue and Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Monday, 30 July 2018

Clouded Yellow

Dungeness - warm and sunny, SW 3 after early showers - A brief visit to the fishing boats first thing delivered very little after the excitement of yesterday -  a touch of after the Lord Mayor`s show...
  From Hanson hide, wader wise, just Little Ringed Plovers, Ruff, Wood and Common Sandpipers, plus Garganey and Great White Egret from Screen hide. Plenty of Swifts and hirundines over the lake in the drizzle.
  An afternoon visit to Burrowes yielded a juvenile Black Tern amongst 100 Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls in front of Firth hide, including a colour ringed adult bird, T988. A Clouded Yellow butterfly on the track was our first of the summer.

                                Black-headed Gull T988

                                Clouded Yellow

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Dungeness Shearwaters

Dungeness - cool, wet, cloudy, S 6 - 0900hrs - With a brisk southerly wind whipping up a heavy sea and reports of shearwaters and petrels off the western seaboard filtering through, there was only one place to be this morning. After checking the Patch, where a single Yellow-legged Gull and several Mediterranean Gulls were the highlight, we joined MC and TG in the seawatching hide for a couple of hours.
  A steady flow of mostly westbound Gannets provided the bulk numbers with over 1,000 during the morning, along with a trickle of Sandwich and Common Terns, a few Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Med Gulls, Common Scoters, a Shoveler and a few Swifts out. However, the highlight was three species of shearwater with 15 Manx, six Balearics and a single Sooty Shearwater, with several more of the first two earlier on and throughout the day. I also had brief views of a Thresher Shark, which had been seen by several other observers over the weekend.
  Whilst at the DBO barbeque, a Great Shearwater flew west (AL) an extremely rare sighting in this part of the Channel. This caused a minor evacuation of local birders to the fishing boats just in case it returned but it was not to be, although another Sooty Shearwater was seen.
  The weather front certainly did the trick. On any other day multiple Manx, Balearic and Sooty Shearwaters would have been memorable at Dungeness, but with the unprecedented addition of the `big one`, it will long be remembered as the day of four species of shearwaters.

                                Curlew Sandpiper from Hanson hide

                                Knots from Firth hide



                                Common and Black Terns


ARC/Burrowes - Sandwiched in between the seawatching there was some pretty good fare on the bird reserve too. From Hanson hide an adult Curlew Sandpiper showed well on the closest island along with two Ruff, four LRPs, three Ringed Plovers, six Dunlins, Wood Sandpiper and Snipe, plus plenty of terns, gulls and dabbling ducks. Over the road from Firth hide three adult Knot and two juvenile Black Terns were the highlights amongst 50 Common Terns, Dunlins and Common Sandpipers.
Despite missing the `big two` it was still a superb days birding across Dungeness.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Curlews

Lade - warm, sunny, SW 6 - Following on from the stifling heat of Friday it felt good to wake up this morning to the smell of a salty, old fresh wind blowing off the Atlantic Ocean, as a cold front moved up-Channel. The temperature plummeted by ten degrees making a circuit of the local patch far more agreeable for both dog and human.
  I timed our walk to coincide with the Curlews flying in off the bay to roost on the storm ridges near south lake, a couple of hours before high tide. They take about 30 minutes from the early birds to the late stragglers and this morning there was 233, most of whom came in on a low trajectory due to the strong wind, with some pausing for a fresh water bathe and drink, so I had to be alert to count `em all in, along with a Whimbrel and six Barwits. As similar numbers have been here all summer I assume that most are non-breeding birds; all showed signs of wing moult on their inner flight feathers.

                                Curlews pausing en-route to roost

   Waders are my favourite bird family by a long chalk and they don't come much more impressive than the Curlew, the largest of the tribe. Apparently, they`re in trouble across the British Isles and have now been Red Listed; numbers are declining as their traditional breeding grounds become over-grazed, intensively farmed for silage or turned into pine forests. Until 2012 they were still on the wild game bird hit list in Britain, but are still hunted on the near continent, which is totally unacceptable.
Dungeness - An hour at the fishing boats this afternoon in windy conditions produced very little apart from a trickle of terns and Gannets, 20 Mediterranean Gulls and 50 outward bound Swifts. A Grey Seal was noted just offshore.
  The only other news today concerned a passage of 30 Curlew Sandpipers through ARC this morning and a Balearic Shearwater off the point around noon.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Sandpipers

Lade - hot and humid - The hottest day of the summer so far with the thermometer peaking at 31C in the garden. Still very few butterflies on the Buddleia though, just a few whites and the occasional Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Red Admiral, plus several Hummingbird Hawk-moths. No change on the local patch with both Green and Common Sandpipers around the margins.
 A midday sea swim off the board walk was most enjoyable, along with screeching Sandwich Terns and two Grey Seals further out, magic. By late afternoon the storm clouds gathered and in high humidity by early evening the rain poured down amongst the thunder and lightening to bring the heat wave to a spectacular end.

                                South lake, March, brash ice and -10C

                                South lake, today, weed strewn and 30C

ARC - From Hanson hide this morning several Common Sandpipers were joined by singles of Wood and Green Sandpiper. A Great White Egret settled amongst the Cormorant colony and a small party of Blackwits and Curlew flew around before heading over the road.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

First Willow Warbler

Lade - hot and humid - Ideal weather condition for moths and while last night produced our first two eggars of the season, and a Small Emerald, there was precious little else of note and numbers were curiously low. Once again the local Blackbird had mopped up anything on the outside of the trap. A Grey Wagtail flew over as I emptied the trap, while the first Willow Warbler of autumn came down to drink at the garden pond this morning.


                               Oak and Pale Grass Eggars

  The past few mornings have been spent rummaging around the local patch checking on the breeding birds, and for the most part its been a pretty successful one. A count of 43 Dabchicks on south lake, including many juvs was the highlight and, at long last, two Great Crested Grebes were noted with `stripy-zebras` on their backs. Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Mallard have all produced plenty of fledglings too.
  The Sparrowhawk pair were again successful with at least two juvs on the wing and it was good to see two well grown Oystercatcher chicks on the scaffold island with their ever attentive parents. Earlier in the season two pairs of Black-necked Grebes attempted to breed but failed, while a pair of Dartford Warblers double brooded raising at least five juveniles. A pair of Ringed Plovers somehow managed to raise young on the Desert, although none were successful along the beach due to increasing human disturbance.
  Of the summer warblers only Lesser Whitethroats did well with five singers locally; Whitethroat, Sedge and Reed Warblers were all down and Chiffchaff didn't breed. Several adult Cuckoos were present, although I`ve yet to see a fledged juvenile. Resident Cetti`s Warbler (seven singers), Green Woodpecker and Water Rail all bred across the site, as did Skylark, Mipit, Stonechat, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting.

                                Islands are starting to emerge on south lake

  Migrants have started to drift through this week, chiefly Sand Martins along with a few Yellow Wagtails overhead, Common Sandpipers and at least one Green Sandpiper on the lakeside margins.
Sandwich Terns have been the main feature on the bay and earlier in the week a Black Tern (DS) dropped in; probably the same one as on Burrowes this morning, where also all three species of sandpipers were logged.
  Called in at Hanson hide this afternoon in sweltering 30C temperatures where hundreds of wildfowl and gulls were present on the ARC lake. Waders included several LRPs and Common Sandpipers, two Blackwits and a Wood Sandpiper, plus Great White Egret, two Garganeys, Med Gulls and a female Marsh Harrier bathing over the far side.
  There was plenty of Sandwich Tern, Med Gull and Curlew action moving between the bay and roost sites this evening involving several hundred birds, most of which seemed to fly over our cottage.

Drusillas Park - On Wednesday we took our nearly eight year old grandson and his mate to Drusillas for his birthday treat - "a day of fun in the sun!". Drusillas Park in Sussex is part zoo, part adventure playground; you know the kind of thing, ideal for hundreds of wailing kids and sulky parents in 35C heat!
  Anyhow, while the young Troddling was running riot in the Get Wet! (exclamation marks are everywhere at Drusillas!) I sauntered back through the zoo for a gander. Now, at this juncture I must admit to not being a great lover of zoos, never have been, although to be fair this place did appear to be spic and span and well maintained. I know that many zoos claim conservation credentials and educate the nippers, but I think that most are just an excuse for disrespectful paying guests to visit what is after all an animal prison. For example, the Red Pandas and primates did have spacious cages, but they just looked bored and listless; staring into the eyes of a Columbus Monkey said it all for me... A pair of Servals and Giant Anteaters did not have nearly enough space and really shouldn't have been there at all.
  As is often the case it was the captive birds that got a raw deal. The Spectacled and Snowy Owl cages were very small and nowhere near big enough for them to fly properly. An enclosure with various species of ibises was pitiful; long-billed waders with highly sensitive bill tips for probing mud being incarcerated in a concrete based cage no bigger than half a penalty area. Shocking. Having been privileged to see these birds in their native environments I couldn't help but feel depressed.
 So, I`m yet to be convinced of the value of zoos, surely its much better to concentrate efforts in their native lands, along with somehow trying to educate the burgeoning human population both here and abroad to respect them. Call Mr Misery, but that's the way I feel about zoos, and I reckon one day they will be frowned upon, just like circus animals are today.
  However, the day ended in a degree of drama with the evacuation of Drusillas Park due to a corn field fire opposite!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Jersey Tiger

Lade - warm, dry and sunny - Another muggy night although the cloud cover disappeared resulting in a drop in moth numbers; however, a Jersey Tiger was new for the year, as usual on the outside of the trap. Also last night several small bats were hawking insects around the garden fir trees, newts were active in the pond and three fox cubs were playing in the road outside.

                                Jersey Tiger

Dungeness - Very quiet at the point this morning, apart from a Black Redstart on the power station fence, a Peregrine over and several Mediterranean Gulls at the Patch.
  An afternoon visit to Hanson hide yielded two Blackwits, Wood and Common Sandpipers, 10 Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Garganey and a flyover Bittern on ARC. On Burrowes from Firth hide, 120 Common Terns, 10 Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper and Dunlin.

                                Common Sandpiper from Firth hide

                                Cloud bank over the power stations

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Orache Moth and Red Arrows

Lade - warm, dry and sunny - Another weekend of superb summer weather, ideal for sea swimming and moths. Although I`ve been running a moth trap down here for just a over a decade I still get a frisson of excitement when it is checked through the busy summer and autumn months. Yesterday morning I was late up at 0600hrs and our garden Blackbird had already demolished the Brown-tail moths around the summer house site. I don't mind it having some easy pickings as him and his mate are on their third brood, having lost most of the early fledglings to Jackdaws and Magpies.
  As I worked through the catch adding the likes of new-for-the-year Peppered Moth and Pale-grass Eggar into the notebook I noticed an unfamiliar, medium size noctuid in the final egg tray - an Orache Moth, a rare immigrant from the near continent and new for the site, a vision of green and black with distinctive markings on the forewing. Moth catching, it seems, continues to surprise even on this wind-swept coastline.

                                Orache Moth - new for the Plovers trap site

  Over the weekend a few new waders were recorded on the local patch including seven Snipe yesterday, Green Sandpiper and Grey Plover over, plus pulses of Sand Martins and a trickle of Yellow Wagtails today. Second brood Stonechats were abroad this morning along with numerous Common Blues and Migrant Hawkers in the hot sunshine. A count of 320 Coots was made on south lake and, at last, the first brood of Dabchicks was logged.


                                Common Blues were abundant today

                                First grebelets

                                         Stonechat on dead Foxglove

  Evening visits to the bay on a flood tide produced a record count of seven Grey Seals hunting flatfish, plus the usual hundreds of Curlews, Oystercatchers, Sandwich Terns, five Barwits, six Dunlins and a Whimbrel.



                                Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane over Folkestone

  A trip to Hawkinge Battle of Britain museum with guests yesterday and onto The Warren to watch the flypast also delivered a Red Kite over Capel-le-Ferne.
  On a similar note we finished the weekend this afternoon watching the Red Arrows display team over Folkestone from the end of Lade boardwalk. It was a terrific show, easily viewable through the bins in the distance, and at the end of the 30 minutes they flew across the bay and over our heads before heading off inland. In complete contrast the Dutch barque Alamy came into the bay under full sail. The things you see down here...




                                RAF Red Arrows display team



                                Dutch barque Alamy