New Romney - warm, dry and cloudy SW2 - My early morning walkouts from home this week have been a case of familiarising myself with local footpaths and tracks out onto the marsh countryside which is only a five minute stroll away. Much of the land to the north towards St Mary-in-the-Marsh is intensively farmed and bereft of wildlife potential, apart from the drainage sewers, but the green lane out to Old Romney church looks promising with sheep folds and marginal scrub, hedgerows and paddocks providing a variety of wayside habitats for birds. To the south, Church Lane down to the spinney and dung heap by Dunes Road also has potential. So far typical farmland species such as Kestrel, Buzzard, Skylark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting have all been logged, plus a flushed Snipe, several Chiffchaffs and Jays, Green Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush.
Walland Marsh -This evening was the first harrier roost count of the season. I joined Chris P at our usual site on Walland Marsh where farming operations were still in full swing. As we approached the watchpoint several thousand gulls, Starlings and Lapwings swirled over the arable lands to feed. Eventually, as the sun set, in spectacular fashion, seven Marsh Harriers came to roost while an adult male Hen Harrier flew towards the Woolpack. Also noted four Buzzards, four Kestrels, two Stonechats, a Snipe and six roosting Great White Egrets.