Westbere Marshes - warm, dry, sunny, n 2 - Spent the day in the Stour valley with Marshman checking out sites for forthcoming articles. We started at Westbere, in glorious spring-like sunshine, although it was pretty quiet with the woodland and marsh almost birdless; just where have all the Siskins and Redpolls gone? And I`ll bet 30 years ago it was good for Lesser spot and Willow Tit too. Still, no use harping on about the `good `ol days`, while on the plus side we did see four soaring Buzzards, two Marsh Harriers and heard Cetti`s Warbler, Water Rail and Grey Wagtail. The marsh beyond the river looked good for a crake in May and the lake held a few common wildfowl and gulls and that was about it really.
Grove Ferry - It wasn't much better here either, apart from a couple of hundred each of Teal and Lapwings from the viewing ramp and a few common wildfowl from the first hide, plus pinging Bearded Tits and distant soaring Buzzards, Marsh Harrier and Sparrowhawk. However, we were spared the slog out to marsh hide, through the mud, when a returning birder reported seeing, "bugger all" out there.
Never again shall I bemoan a slow days birding at Dungeness...
Chilham - In the vain hope of salvaging something from the day we called in at Chilham on the way home, and low and behold the Great Grey Shrike was still in the same hedgerow as the back end of last year! This time it was soaking up the late afternoon sunshine and showed well from Branch Road before disappearing over towards the brook.
A day of few birds, but at least the sun shone and it gave us plenty of time to natter about the birds of Sri Lanka.