Friday, 20 April 2018

An influx of Red Kites

Dungeness - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - An early morning wander around the point delivered a small fall of Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats, several Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a Common Whitethroat. Two Wheatears were in the Desert and a Black Redstart sang from the power station corner near the Obs. There also seemed to be an increase in Chaffinches in the bushes and a single Brambling flew over calling.
  The sea resembled a mill pond where plenty of Harbour Porpoise were in view. The seawatchers reported it slow going, although a small passage of Little Gulls and Bonxies moved through later (PB).

                                Willow Warbler at DBO
  Plenty more grounded Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats were noted around Dengemarsh whilst surveying for Cetti`s Warblers. Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo, Common Buzzard, Swallows, Stonechat, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were also seen, plus flight views of a Cattle Egret heading towards Galloways.
Lydd - I called in at the allotments late morning and whilst walking to my plot noticed a large flock of birds `kettling` skywards. To my astonishment they were Red Kites, 16 to be precise! As I rushed back to the car to grab my bins another bird flew over about 100 feet up being terrorised by two Herring Gulls making it 17. Scanning the flock again also revealed three Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. As I tweeted the news out other local birders began to pick up the flock as it moved across the Peninsula, while a phone call from BD told of half a dozen over Lade. Two House Martins were also new for the year around the adjacent housing estate where there is a small colony.
  Back home sitting in the garden having lunch and the HGs alerted me to yet another Red Kite drifting northwards along the coastline. Judging from others seen at Littlestone, New Romney and Scotney there could easily have been up to 30 Red Kites over today. Other reports of Red Kites along the south coast came in from Beachy Head to Kingsdown.
  As for the origins of these birds, well that`s anyone`s guess. Most likely they originated from the burgeoning Chilterns/Thames Valley population which have also colonised the North Downs, but alternatively birds seen coming in off the sea could be `proper` migrants drifting over from France en-route to northern Europe to breed.

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