Lade - cool and cloudy - Pretty much the same fare these past two days on the local patch with up to five Great White Egrets around the margins of south lake and a small flock of Shelducks coming and going on the high tides. Two Ring Ouzels were present in Mockmill this morning while the Dartford Warblers remained in the gorse scrub beside south lake track. Small numbers of Stonechat, Linnet, Chiffchaff and Mipits are scattered across the site. With only eight moths in the garden trap last night and colder weather forecast I decided to pack away the moth trap for the season - winter is a comin...
On the bird reserve egrets have been commonplace this week with up to 20 Great Whites easily outnumbering Littles, while the seven Cattle Egrets have remained faithful to the suckling herd in the Hayfields. The reed beds have plenty of Water Rails and Bearded Tits and a few Bitterns with Screen and Hanson hides the favoured locations for the best chance of actually seeing one. Raptors are also present in good numbers, particularly Kestrel, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier, plus Peregrine, Merlin, Sparrowhawk and even a Barn Owl has been seen on the wing from the access road late afternoons.
On the passerine front Ring Ouzels have favoured the scrub to the north of Hookers and the Return Trail with others noted along the railway line behind Tower Pits. Finches, tits, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and thrushes are also best looked for in these areas.
The islands from Hanson hide have attracted a mobile flock of some 500 Golden Plovers and Lapwings all week along with an assortment of Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-wit, Curlew, Redshank and Spotted Redshank. Up to 11 species of shorebirds are also present on the bay with the best viewing point being Littlestone at low tide.
With north-westerly winds seawatching off Dungeness has been steady this week to say the least. However, hundreds of Med Gulls and Kittiwakes are still offshore and there is always the chance of a few passing Brents, divers, scoters, auks, terns and the odd skua. Overhead visible migration has been virtually non-existent.