Friday 27 March 2015

Early Willow Warbler

Lade - cold, sunny, nw 2 - A fine start to the day with two Firecrests in garden fir trees front and back, plus a Chiffchaff. We followed up with a circuit of the local patch where at least 10 Chiffchaffs were noted, several in song, but beside north lake, through the buddleia scrub, a Willow Warbler burst into song, my earliest here by a week, and our first of the year. Several Goldfinches and Greenfinches flew over calling, plus Green Woodpecker and Little Egret. Two Cetti`s Warblers sang around the willow swamp, while Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier soared over the airport fields. On the lakes Dabchicks seemed to be trilling from every reedbed.
ARC - From the causeway road ARC was packed out with hundreds of Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall, plus five Goldeneyes and single redhead, Smew and Goosander. Best of all though was a summer plum Black-necked Grebe. On New Diggings a single, very black, Lesser Black-backed Gull was of note.
Ketchley Copse - After a session on the allotment we wandered over the road to the wood by the roundabout which I`ve always referred to as Lydd Wood, but which has an official name, Ketchley Copse, as per the Woodland Trust sign on the front gate (its only taken me ten years to notice it!). So, there we go, from now on it`s known as Ketchley Copse. Anyhow, it`s not much of a wood really, but has a range of deciduous trees and I visit regularly when at the allotment. The best birds I`ve found over the years include Woodcock, Firecrest and Pied Flycatcher, while this morning a singing Chiffchaff was about it; however the Sage of Littlestone tells a good tale of twitching a Lesser pecker there long ago... The wood does get quite disturbed as it`s a regular haunt of Lydd teenagers where they go to hang out and have a smoke, but still worthwhile checking now again, early morning.  

                                Ketchley Copse, Lydd

                                Violets, celandine, and woodland pond, Ketchley Copse

Dengemarsh - Accompanied the Joker this afternoon for a highly productive session in Dengemarsh hide from where we enjoyed cracking views of six Marsh Harriers displaying over the reedbeds, including two males, one of which was noticeably paler grey on the wings and tail. Two Great White Egrets were present, plus two Tundra Bean Geese in the back field with the feral geese, Wigeons, Lapwings, Stock Doves and Shelduck. A Sand Martin put in a brief appearance over the lake before disappearing towards the battery farm and three Blackwits dropped in just as we were about to leave. 

                                Marsh Harrier and Great White Egret, Dengemarsh

Weekly Summary - Anyone planning a visit to Dungeness this weekend should be able to see a decent variety of winter hangers-on, plus a few migrants. Large numbers of ducks are still on the bird reserve, including Smew and Goosander, while two Tundra Bean Geese seem to have settled on the Dengemarsh fields. Great White Egrets are also in this area and the two long-staying Cattle Egrets seem to be favouring the sheep fields behind Brickwall Farm. Hayfield 3 is currently good for waders, while Raven and Peregrine are regularly seen thereabouts and the Marsh Harriers are putting on a good show over Hookers reedbed.
On the migrant front Dungeness is the place for Wheatears and Black Redstarts, particularly on the old fishing huts opposite Prospect Cottage, plus Firecrests in the lighthouse garden and around the trapping area. While the sea has been quiet of late Brents are coming through along with a few divers wildfowl, Sandwich Terns and Med Gulls.
Sand Martins, LRPs and Willow Warbler have also been recorded locally with more to come no doubt, and a good chance of Garganey, Swallow and perhaps a Yellow Wagtail over the coming days.
Good birding wherever you go.


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