Lade - mild, cloudy, light airs - It happens every so often down here in autumn, an influx of Kestrels. A scan across the Desert south of the lakes yesterday revealed nine hovering birds in one sweep and five more on the rough ground behind the `mirrors` towards the airport; many others were reported across Dungeness this weekend. Years ago I remember seeing large numbers of Kestrels migrating out of Scandinavia across Falsterbo heath in Sweden as northern populations escaped the oncoming winter. What with a perceived shortage of voles on the continent this autumn perhaps this Kestrel influx is linked in with the increasing numbers of eared owls appearing on the east coast recently.
A trickle of Sand and House Martins, Swallows and a late Swift made their way south this weekend, plus Grey and Yellow Wagtails, Meadow and two Tree Pipits. The scrub still held a few Stonechats, Whinchats, Wheatears, Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs amid loads of Linnets, Starlings and House Sparrows feeding on thousands of small flying insects, blackberries and weed seeds. Around the ponds I could only find Sedge, Reed and Cetti`s Warblers and a single Spotted Flycatcher.
On the bay a few more Sanderlings had moved in amongst plenty of Dunlins and a scattering of Knot, Barwit and Grey Plover, while Curlew and Oystercatchers numbered over 500. There were fewer Sandwich Terns than of late and on a recent high tide DS reported Black Tern and Balearic Shearwater in the bay.
Elsewhere this weekend, the four Cattle Egrets were still on the fields at Boulderwall, a Pectoral Sandpiper was seen intermittently at Dengemarsh and the Wryneck tally at the point doubled in number.