Thursday, 5 December 2019

Wild swans

Lade - cold, dry, frosty - Yet another stunning winters day with a hoar frost turning the shingle vegetation into a winter wonderland. A red headed Goldeneye fishing close to shore showed particularly well and kept resurfacing with tiny fish fry.

                               Goldeneye, Lade
 News came through around noon of, presumably yesterdays, two Whooper and four Bewick`s Swans from Walland Marsh having decamped to the fields along Dengemarsh Road near the well established and large dung heap. Its always nice to see the two species of wild swans together as they fed amongst a large mixed flock of Mute Swans and Egyptian Geese.

                                Whooper and Bewick`s Swans, Lydd

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Purple Sandpiper

Lade - cold, dry and sunny, light airs - The only change on the local patch was a small influx of 10 Reed Buntings in amongst the reedbed along the margins of south lake by the main track.
  I had to go to Folkestone this afternoon, so called in at Hythe seafront en-route to check the sea defence blocks for Purple Sandpipers. The blocks opposite the fish restaurant were barren, but the ones outside the Hythe Imperial held one very secretive bird that was roosting tight down on the rocks and only just visible.
  A pair of Whooper Swans were noted by CP on Walland Marsh this afternoon and were the first of the winter locally.

                                Purple Sandpiper, Hythe

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Slavonian Grebe

Scotney - cold, dry and sunny, light airs - This afternoon we decamped to Scotney to have a look at a Slavonian Grebe found by DS yesterday, on the lake to the left of the entrance into the working quarry. Surprisingly this was the first of the year as none were recorded last winter on local waters.

                               Slavonian Grebe, Scotney

Elsewhere today it was a case of as `you were`, with no change to the birds around Lade and Dungeness RSPB reserve. Late last night on the way back from a Van Morrison gig in Brighton (which was superb, by the way) we had good views of a Barn Owl at Jury`s Gap as well as umpteen foxes along the way.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Beach watch

Lade - cold, dry, cloudy, ne 5 - After a day in London yesterday it was good to get out and about around the local patch and clear the tubes of the foul air, albeit with a biting north-easterly rasping in off the sea - a proper winters day! It didn't seem to deter the kite-surfers though who were out in force, while Barney just loves this type of weather; it`s what his breed was made for in the North.

  We checked the tide line down to Greatstone and back in search of Snow Buntings and the like, but could only manage to find a few Turnstones, Starlings and a Pied Wagtail foraging in the wrack. Some of the waders were constantly on the move due to a combination of kite-surfers and some moron with an uncontrollable Staffy Terrier chasing the larger shorebirds. Two Shelducks came in high off the bay as we left the beach at the boardwalk.
  On the lakes a Goldeneye was the only duck worthy of mention, but a large mixed passerine flock roving the sallows around the ponds took some time to check through, the highlights being 21 Long-tailed Tits and two Chiffchaffs. Another late afternoon look at the farmland behind the `mirrors` for owls drew a blank, although a light drizzle had set in which didn't help.
  Elsewhere this weekend across the Dungeness peninsula there wasn't much change to the birding scene, although the Cattle Egret flock at Boulderwall had increased to four birds. For gull afficiandos high tide at Burrowes and the Patch attracted the usual assortments of Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls amongst the throng, while several Short-eared Owls have been noted in the Lydd ranges and Galloways area. The first four Bewick`s Swans of winter were reported on Walland Marsh from a field near the Woolpack, Brookland (NB).