Sunday, 18 February 2018

WeBS and Harriers

Dungeness - 0730hrs - warm, dry and sunny, S 2 - Another stunning day with blue skies and light airs. At the Patch the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was on the beach amongst a large mixed flock of gulls before being spooked by a Peregrine. It then flew over the power station complex and eventually settled down on B station. Offshore the usual Gannets, a few auks and a party of eight Brents up-Channel. On land several Mipits and plenty of singing Dunnocks, Great Tits and Chaffinches, plus a Goldcrest in the moat.

                                Glaucous Gull, B Station

Lade - Plenty of wildfowl across both lakes with a top count of 340 Shovelers, plus the now expected two Long-tailed Ducks and three Goldeneyes. Whilst counting the ducks an Avocet briefly dropped in and spin-fed amongst a pack of Shoveler looking for all the world like a massive pied phalarope!
A Bittern flew along the far reed bed where a Marsh Harrier was also noted. The Dartford Warblers proved elusive again, unlike Dunnock, Great Tit, Greenfinch and Chaffinch which all sang from atop the gorse scrub.

                                Finches enjoying the sunshine

RSPB - After a spot of breakfast we moved onto the bird reserve where the fields at Boulderwall were packed out with Wigeon, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Curlew, Stock Dove and Starling. Several Marsh Harriers kept the birds alert and two redhead Smew were on Tanner`s pool. On Burrowes the Black-throated Diver proved difficult to locate as it dived for food while the Glaucous Gull roosted on an island opposite the visitors centre. The drake Smew and Slavonian Grebe were reported from Christmas Dell pool.
Walland Marsh - A run out this afternoon on the Marsh with CP for the monthly harrier count in perfect weather conditions delivered 21 Marsh Harriers coming to roost, including six males. The last two counts in foul weather delivered three and nil birds, so this was a real treat and a return to more normal numbers of roosting birds. Also noted our first Barn Owl for a while, plus several Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, 105 Mute Swans, 25 Corn Buntings, 200 Fieldfares, Bearded Tit, Cetti`s Warblers, Reed Bunting, Raven, Stonechat and calling Water Rails.

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