Sunday, 13 May 2018

Red-backed Shrike

Saturday - Lade - cool, cloudy, rain later, light airs - 0700hrs - With Dungeness shrouded in fog, and the fog horn moaning mournfully, I opted for a circuit of the local patch to check on the breeding birds. The only new species located was a pair of Ringed Plovers nesting on the beach, which brought the total count for the site up to 50 species. Also noted on the bay this weekend several small flocks of Grey Plovers, Sanderlings and Barwits, most of which were in breeding plumage, plus a Common Sandpiper on north lake.
Sunday - Dungeness - cool, dry cloudy, SW 3 - A superb mornings birding commenced on the beach opposite Jarman`s where a pair of Wheatears, Mipits, Skylarks, Pied Wagtails and Stock Dove all showed signs of breeding locally. From the seawatch hide (0945-1115hrs) a slow trickle of east bound seabirds included two Arctic Skuas, a Bonxie and a Pomarine Skua (1022hrs), plus two Red-throated Divers, a Manx west, a Fulmar and a few auks, Gannets, Common Terns and Common Scoters. A few more skuas were reported throughout the day.

                                Meadow Pipit with caterpillars for young nearby

  On the bird reserve there was a decent variety of waders scattered across the islands on Burrowes that included five Curlews, four Dunlins, four Barwits, six Grey Plovers, six Turnstones, two Whimbrels, two Sanderlings, two (red) Knots and 10 Ringed Plovers. Also present a Little Gull, two Little Terns and plenty of prospecting Common Terns. At Boulderwall a Great White Egret and two Hobbies.

                                Red-backed Shrike, now a rare spring migrant

As news came through of a Red-backed Shrike on the Desert near Long Pits, found by RW & GP, we were soon on site along with a good turn out of locals where the female shrike eventually posed atop a dead willow. A rare bird these days and most welcome in what has generally been a poor spring for land birds. Whilst there a Whinchat popped up briefly to become our first of the year, another migrant that is well down in numbers this year. Also reported today a Redstart in the lighthouse garden, a Spotted Flycatcher at the northern end of Long Pits and this afternoon a Honey Buzzard over Littlestone (MH) that probably flew over our cottage, but I missed it!


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