Lade - cool, cloudy, NE2 - Spent quite a bit of time over the weekend monitoring the breeding birds hereabouts concentrating on the rough ground to the west and north of the lakes up to the airport runway and towards Belgar farm. Pleased to discover plenty of singing Skylarks, Linnets and Whitethroats, several pairs of Meadow Pipits, a pair of Red-legged Partridge and Stonechat, plus a couple of Tree Sparrows and five singing Corn Buntings. Towards the lake margins Reed Bunting, Sedge and Cetti`s Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat all holding territory, although there was negative news on the Mockmill Grasshopper Warbler. Several migrant Wheatears also present, plus Yellow Wagtail and small parties of Whimbrel overhead. Raptors included Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Kestrel.
On the lakes double figures of nesting Little and Great Crested Grebes, at least five pairs of Gadwall and a pair each of Pochard and Oystercatcher. Around the Willow Swamp, Water Rail, Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Long-tailed Tit, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap are all present and likely to breed. Migrant flocks of Swifts and hirundines (mainly Swallows on Saturday) continued to come and go while a Common Sandpiper was on north lake yesterday morning.
A midday visit today delivered a site first for me when six Spoonbills flew over (thanks to Pete and Pam for the warning Tweet from Burrowes). The Spoonies circled over the lakes looking for somewhere to pitch down, and then flew off low across the caravan park, northwards up the coast together with an entourage of `welcoming` Herring Gulls.
A large arrival of some 200 House Martins and 100 Swallows took some time to sift through in a biting northerly wind, along with 20 Swifts. A single, forlorn female Long-tailed Duck was still on south lake; with its partner seemingly gone it appeared to have latched onto a drake Tufted Duck for company. As we left site at 1400hrs the first of what is forecast to be 24 hours of heavy rain hit the peninsula.
New interpretive boards have been erected by RSPB this week, plus signage regarding the policy on dog control during the breeding season.
Dungeness - A trip down the point this morning in a cool northerly airflow revealed news of a slow passage of birds from the regular seawatchers (at least by Dungeness standards), although two Pomarine Skuas and several Arctic Skuas had gone through earlier. The usual Gannets and Sandwich Terns fished offshore and several parties of Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels passed up-Channel. At the Patch 100 Common Terns over the boil and along the scum line, while two each of Arctic and Little Terns and a Mediterranean Gull also noted.
On the land a Black Redstart sang from the power station complex and at least five Wheatears were on the beach opposite Jarman`s. Nearby it was sad to see that a Badger had come to grief on the road, presumably overnight, particularly as the speed limit is supposed to be 20 mph... Not surprised though as I had a woman on the school run recently overtake me doing around 50 mph; how long before a person gets knocked down along the Estate road?