Wednesday, 28 March 2018

First Sand Martins

Lade - cold, overcast, showery, NW 2 - A grim morning to be out in the field with light rain throughout. On south lake the two immature Long-tailed Ducks continued their stay and a Black-necked Grebe was present. Several Chiffchaffs sang from the willow swamp and a Black Redstart flitted amongst the caravans by the aerial mound.
Dungeness - A Slavonian Grebe could be seen from the causeway road on New Diggings, while at least one White Wagtail was amongst the Pieds on the margins of Cook`s Pool. The Boulderwall fields attracted a host of Curlew, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Golden Plover to probe the saturated ground for invertebrates. At the VC feeders at least four Bramblings put on a marvellous show, despite the drizzle, alongside a number of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Blue and Great Tits, a Moorhen and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

                               Bramblings and Chaffinches under the VC feeders

Against my better judgement I did the circular walk which started off dry but soon deteriorated by the time I reached Dengemarsh. However, on Burrowes the highlights were several Ringed Plovers, three Goldeneyes and a pair of Marsh Harriers briefly soaring over the Oppen pits, plus singing Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest by Christmas Dell and displaying Lapwings on Hayfield 1/2. From Dengemarsh hide a Bittern uttered a single series of `booms` from Hooker`s reebed and our first four Sand Martins of spring briefly appeared over the lake. The small pit by the bend attracted the trio of wintering Smew.
  Sitting in Makepeace the Sandwich Tern tape lure was playing in an attempt to attract terns to the fenced off cluster of islands in front of the hide. Yet again no egrets were seen during the circuit.

                                Pair of Egyptian Geese, Christmas Dell

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