Lade - cold, sunny, nw 4 - These past couple of days have been spent without using the car, so on shanks pony, criss-crossing the local patch and along the beach down to Littlestone, up to the Pilot and around Kerton Road pit. We must`ve done a good few miles of shingle stomping and to be fair there were one or two bits and pieces of interest.
On the lake nothing much has changed with the two wintering Long-tailed Ducks still present among around 800 wildfowl including 200 Shovelers, eight Goldeneyes and a brief flirtation by two Goosanders yesterday. This morning a Great White Egret in the main reed bed was new for the year and at the top end of north lake a Green Sandpiper fed along the shingle margin. The Kerton Road waters held only small numbers of ducks, plus hundreds of gulls and Oystercatchers at high tide.
Yesterday morning we took in Mockmill where a new Dartford Warbler was located way out on the Desert in a gorse thicket, the perfect site for a breeding pair to settle down in... The regular birds were also noted in the Kerton Road triangle and beside the south lake track at Lade, along with singing Dunnock, Chaffinch and our first Linnet of the year. Around the willow swamp Cetti`s Warblers were in good voice along with Great Tits, where Reed Bunting, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff also noted.
On the bay nine species of waders were seen with a flock of 15 Ringed Plovers suggesting some sort of movement of what is a scarce shorebird here. Numbers of most other species appeared to be similar to last months count with only Redshank absent.
A profitable enough weekend then with 62 species logged, and all within two miles of Plovers cottage; now that can`t be bad.