Friday, 21 September 2018


Lade - warm, dry, cloudy, SW 5 - A fast-moving weather front delivered strong winds and a dribble of rain overnight. Despite the conditions we opted for a circuit of the local patch which proved to be pretty rewarding; its often a good sign when the first sound of the day are Mipits passing over the cottage, followed by a late Yellow Wagtail and Chiffs calling from the garden fir trees. More pipits were on the shingle ridges along with hundreds of hirundines, Linnets, Starlings and a straggle of Curlews flying to roost off the bay. South lake was covered in hundreds of feral geese, Shovelers and grebes.

                               Chiffchaffs by the ponds

  However, the ponds were nice and sheltered from the wind and being bathed in warm sunshine attracted a host of at least 20 Chiffchaffs. I spent an hour checking through the flock as they snapped  up insects and spiders but could only find a Reed Warbler and two Continental Coal Tits of interest amongst 30 odd Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, plus our first two Siskins of autumn overhead.
  Later on a check of the bay on a falling tide from the Romney Tavern viewpoint yielded 80 Knots, 50 Dunlins, 10 Barwits, 350 Sandwich and 100 Common Terns, 20 Shelducks along with the usual gulls, Curlews and Oystercathers.

                                Speckled Wood

                                Spider with shrink-wrapped Speckled Wood

Dungeness - There was little change on the bird reserve wader wise from yesterday with just two Snipe and Lapwing from Hanson hide and nothing on Burrowes. All the same ducks and terns were present, plus 25 Shelducks on ARC while at least six Cattle Egrets faithfully tracked the cows on the Boulderwall fields. More Chiffchaffs were located in sheltered spots around the car park, down to the pines and around the Willow Trail where around 50 very worn Speckled Woods were enjoying their last days of life; I watched one fly into a web and within a second a spider was out and shrink-wrapping the forlorn insect in a tent of death.
  Scotney was checked for any storm-blown seabirds, but was barren apart from the usual feral geese and a few Redshanks and Curlews. 

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