Sunday 31 May 2015

Where have all the sparrows gone?

Saturday - North London - Yesterday we headed up to the south Tottenham, Green Lanes area of north London on grand parent duties. As always I set myself a target of trying to find a House Sparrow, no mean challenge as their spectacular fall from grace in the capital is well known yet still largely clouded in mystery. A shortage of insects, increased predation, air pollution and even disease have all been mooted as possible causes and The Independent newspaper`s £5,000 prize offer is still open to the researchers who can offer the most convincing scientific evidence explaining the sparrows` urban decline.
Our daughters ground floor flat is in a typical London back-to-back Edwardian terrace layout forming substantial blocks of gardens, many of which are unkempt and overgrown with tall trees. Sitting in the sunshine supping a cuppa and scanning around birds immediately came my way: the ubiquitous Feral Pigeon, a family of Starlings, singing Blackbirds and Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits feeding young (they didn't seem to be having a problem finding insects), calling Chaffinch and Greenfinch, while overhead a few Swifts and a Herring Gull were noted, but no Cockney sparrahs.
In a vain effort to tire out our 4 year 9 month old grandson Albert we headed for the local adventure playground at Chestnut Park, full of mature old London plane and lime trees with loads of rough corners and adjacent back gardens, perfect sparrow habitat you might think. A slow circuit of the park produced further bird sightings: Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Jackdaws, Magpies, tame Carrion Crows, a Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Robin and Wren, Black-headed Gull and more of the garden birds we`d seen earlier, while Barney was in heaven chasing squirrels, an animal he doesn`t encounter back home on the Marsh. We paused at the café, with outside seating, perfect for sparrows, but not a single Passer domesticus londoniensis was to be seen cadging crumbs from the punters.

                                "Bet you can`t wear me out"
In the afternoon it was football practise for the little fella (who still had bags of energy) and another assault course on a climbing frame in Finsbury Park, one of the great open spaces of London and sparrow paradise; surely there must be one or two of the little blighters here... The bird list rattled away with the addition of water, so Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, dodgy Pochard and Tufted Ducks, plus Rose-ringed Parakeets, a Grey Wagtail (bird of the day), Song Thrush, Jay, a singing Blackcap and calling Great Spotted Woodpecker. Not too bad at all, but still no House Sparrows.
Until, that is, walking beside the old aquifer, that formerly supplied drinking water from Hertfordshire to the City, a small bird flew down to drink, at last a House Sparrow, an adult male, but it was so furtive, quite unlike our brazen birds at home, and was only down for a few seconds before flying off into cover. But I was so thrilled I felt as though I should tweet my sighting out to the wider birding world, as though I`d found a Red-backed Shrike or Alpine Swift!
So, that was that, a single sighting after a day long search for the declining Cockney sparrah, and with Albert still in one piece, but still a bundle of energy (how do you exhaust a nearly 5 year old boy?) we headed back to base to watch an entertaining FA Cup Final.

Sunday, Lade - cool, wet, w 5 - Another shocking day weather wise with strong winds throughout and rain for most of the morning. We checked the lakes out during and after the rain but apart from a couple of hundred Swifts all was quiet.

Friday 29 May 2015

Two Great White Egrets

Lade - 0700hrs - cool, cloudy, sw 3 - A decent enough catch in the garden moth trap with the first hawk of the year in Poplar and Small Square-spot also NFY.
With cool conditions and the wind speed increasing it was no surprise that south lake attracted several hundred Swifts and hirundines, mainly the former. Whilst scanning through we noticed two large white birds approaching from the north that turned out to be Great White Egrets. They passed high over the lake and headed towards ARC.

                                Poplar Hawkmoth

                                                 Small Square-spot

                                          Yellow-barred Brindle

ARC - 1100hrs - A walk down to Screen hide and around the pines delivered a couple of Hobbys. On the lake there were loads more Swifts and hirundines but no further sign of the two large egrets.

                                Oxeye Daisys and Valerian, Lade ponds

Lade - 1600hrs - We had some hefty old showers this afternoon, but once they went over we rechecked the Swifts and hirundines over the lakes, of which there were still plenty present. I could watch Swifts all day, masters of the air, and they have some great local names too, my favourite being Rain-dodger.

                                Rain-dodgers, Lade

Thursday 28 May 2015

Spotted Flycatcher

Lade - 0800hrs - cool, sunny, w 3 - Another poor night in the garden moth trap with just five species and none NFY. A couple of Hobbys were already on the wing over the willow swamp, while Swifts came and went.
Dungeness RSPB - A circular walk for a group of old friends from Maidstone way concentrated primarily on wild flowers, of which there was a surprising range in bloom including our first vipers bugloss and Nottingham catchfly. Also managed to find a smart male grass snake, two crested newts, five species of dragonflies, a few common butterflies and plenty of marsh frogs.

                                Hobby, Dengemarsh

                               Spotted Flycatcher, near Scott hide

Despite the increasing wind Reed Buntings, Linnets, Tree Sparrows, Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats all showed well, along with singing Bearded Tits, Cetti`s and Reed Warblers. At least six Hobbys put on a show over Dengemarsh along with several Marsh Harriers and plenty of Swifts.
At Hookers we watched a family group of Dabchicks and on the Discovery pond a brood of Moorhens. On the hayfields it was pleasing to note two female Lapwings, each with two well grown chicks, and when a Peregrine whipped over at least 10 adults rose up to `greet` it. By Christmas Dell we jammed a Wheatear, followed by a Spotted Flycatcher hawking insects on the sheltered side of the scrub by Scott hide, and a welcome year tick, not that I`m year listing of course...

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Least Black Arches & Dew Moth

Lade - cool, sunny, nw 2 - A stunning morning for an early circuit of the local patch in glorious sunshine and light airs, although the breeze quickly picked up through the day. All the usual breeding birds were in place and two Marsh Harriers hunted the airport fields. The prostrate broom is now in full flower and a real picture it looks too, while the first foxglove spikes have bloomed.
Despite a cool night there was plenty of interest in and around the garden moth trap with a worn  Least Black Arches new for the site and five more NFY, including the localised Yellow-barred Brindle and the annoyingly variable Common Marbled Carpet...

                                Least Black Arches

Dungeness RSPB - An afternoon circuit of the reserve was more to look for and identify plants for a forthcoming walk than birding, although I did notice that the terns have now abandoned the third raft to a pair of Oystercatchers on Dengemarsh; the other two rafts having been taken up by Common Gulls. From the ramp several Bearded Tits showed well despite the strong wind.

                                            Foxglove, Dungeness

Kerton Road Café - The café trap site is a well known local refuge for rare moths and a couple of nights ago the little beauty pictured below came to light, a Dew Moth. This Nationally Scarce A moth has been recorded less than 20 times down here on the shingle where the lava feed on lichens, of which there are no shortage of, scattered across the storm beach ridges.

                               Dew Moth, Lydd-on-Sea (photo by Steve Broyd)

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Springwatch 2015

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, nw 2 - Its been a busy Bank Holiday weekend down here with guests coming and going and not much time to get into the field. When we have we`ve stayed local, checking the gravel pits yesterday where the Black-headed Gull colony was full of activity and Meds still present and the high tide wader count comprised 52 Curlews and 130 Oystercatchers. A second pair of Stonechats appear to have set up a territory near south lake, while on the beach this morning a flock of 12 Knots, half of them in summer plum, was a sight for sore eyes.
As for the garden moth trap, I`m pleased to report that things have picked up with 10 NFYs over the weekend including Cream-spot Tiger, White-point. Broad-barred White and Knot Grass.

                                Broad-barred White

                                Cream-spot Tiger

                                           Knot Grass


Springwatch 2015
In a moment of optimistic madness last night I tuned into the first Springwatch of the season, just to see what`s on offer and whether or not they`ve bucked their ideas up and changed the presentation style at all. Once again they`ve pitched up at Maasai Minsmere complete with a crew of 120 people and 30 cameras around the site.
Sadly, I can report that its the same old Tomfoolery from the usual trio, holding court as though the viewing public is a CBeebies audience. Shame really, because the concept is great and there were one or two interesting items, particularly on Crested Newts and time lapse photography, and I feel sure there will be plenty more good stuff to come from the Northern Isles with Iolo Williams, but it went rapidly downhill for me when they held this ludicrous agility and speed test between a captive Gos and Sparrowhawk. Then there was all the palaver over the new fence (which must`ve cost a fortune to install) to prevent Badgers getting onto the scrape and steamrollering the Avocet nests; I`ll lay money on the buggers breaching the barricade somehow during the next three weeks - there`s only one way to deal with a persistent Badger...
And another thing, its supposed to be a dynamic `live show`, right? Well, while his nibs was prattling on giving a Stickleback a daft name there was a Bittern `booming` loudly in the background, surely he heard it. Any minute now I thought he`s going to give us the speel on the old boomer, but no he completely ignored it, despite returning once more later on; which just goes to prove that the show is so tightly scripted that you can ignore the bleeding obvious.
Anyhow, that`s me done with it, that lot really wind me up, so I`m staging a one man boycott until they employ all three presenters with an underpinning knowledge of natural history and stop performing like a bunch of kids.

Lade - 1930hrs - A gorgeous evening for a walk along the beach, on an ebb tide, yielded some smart  Arctic waders on the sands in breeding plumage including 15 Barwits, 40 Dunlins, 21 Sanderlings and two stunning Grey Plovers, plus Sandwich Terns and two each of Med Gull and Shelduck. The sea kale is now in full flower along this section of the beach and looks a real treat.

Sunday 24 May 2015


Lade  - warm, dry, sunny, sw 2 - Throughout the past week scores of Starling families have descended upon the garden to plunder the fat balls, feed their young and use the bird bath, which has to be filled up several times in the day as the juvs splash about in the water. At least two have fallen to Sparrowhawk attack with more being rescued from the clutches of Mrs PT`s cat, Ginger Jim.
I must admit to having a soft spot for the Starling; a common bird I know, but over recent days they`ve given us great entertainment, and the adults are real smart birds in the sunshine.

                                Starlings, Plovers garden

                                Ginger Jim

Walland Marsh - A walk out from the Woolpack end along the bund to the second double bend delivered the expected host of wetland birds, including several pairs of Yellow Wagtails, Marsh Harriers, Lapwings and a Reed Warbler with a highly variable song bordering on a Marsh Warbler. Several painted lady butterflies were on the wing, plus my first common blue of the summer.

                                Southern marsh orchid, ARC

ARC - Pretty quiet here with just a few Hobbys over Tower Pits and the first southern marsh orchids in flower. Couldn`t find yesterdays Spotted Flycatchers, despite searching down to the pines and along the railway track where two Red-legged Partridges were flushed. 
A Spoonbill was present out back at Scotney first thing (CP).

Saturday 23 May 2015

Moths, at last

Lade - mild, overcast, ne 2 - For the first time this year a double figure count of macro moths in the garden trap comprising 13 species, six of which were new for the year including the localised Reed Dagger, a splendid Buff-tip and the rather dull Rustic Shoulder-knot. Still, at least its a start, if a late one.


                                    Reed Dagger

                                       Rustic Shoulder-knot

Dengemarsh - 1100hrs - Following a night up in London (Mark Knopfler at the O2 ) Mrs PT joined us for a circuit of the marsh to clear the tubes of the foul London air. We started at the chicken farm and crossed the fields towards Gun Club passing Yellow Wagtails, Reed Buntings, Skylarks and a hunting male Marsh Harrier along the way. At Hookers the Bittern was `booming ` and 15 Hobbys hawked flying insects above the reedbed, plus 10 more at Boulderwall making at least 25 birds. Two Avocets flew over calling, while Lapwing and Redshank chicks were noted on the hayfields. Plenty of warblers sang loudly, including a Lesser Whitethroat, and all the usual feral geese, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, ducks and grebes made for a bird-rich stroll.

                                          Yellow Wagtail and Grey Heron, Dengemarsh

Friday 22 May 2015


Walland Marsh - 0700hrs - warm, dry, sunny, light airs  - The perfect morning for a circuit of a private wetland site out on the Marsh where the highlight was a singing Quail in a field of winter wheat. Marsh Harriers were much in evidence, as were ten Hobbys, Kestrel and Peregrine on the raptor front, plus Garganey, Shoveler and Gadwall. Around the reedbeds plenty of Reed and Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings in song, along with a few Bearded Tits, three Corn Buntings and singles of Cuckoo, Cetti`s Warbler and Yellow Wagtail, while Lapwings were present in good numbers. Noted elsewhere, one or two Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Shelducks, feral geese, Oystercatchers, Med Gulls, Turtle Doves, Tree Sparrows, Little Owl and a Whinchat.  

                               May blossom, Walland Marsh

RSPB - Called in briefly at the visitors centre from where six Ringed Plovers and a few Common Terns present on the islands. From the access road four Hobbys, Cuckoo and Kestrel.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Greenland Wheatear

Lade - 0730hrs - cool, sunny, w 2 - A stunning morning with a bright blue sky and pin-sharp light, ideal for a circuit of the local patch to check on the breeding birds. The rufous female Cuckoo was glimpsed again in the willow swamp where I`m pretty sure a Chiffchaff is holding territory, which is not a regular breeder down here. Med Gulls were heard almost constantly throughout the day, flying over high, and were not the local birds, but maybe failed breeders dispersing from Rye/Pett way. Mockmill sewer was jumping with Sedge and Reed Warblers, Whitethroats, Linnets and a pair of Stonechats, but Mipits appear to be down in number this spring with only a couple of pairs on site.
The recent rain has resulted in a lush growth of plants on the shingle ridges with the yellow prostrate broom rapidly replacing the fading gorse blooms and foxgloves springing up from the turf. The number of flying insects emerging from this herbicide free sward has to be seen to be believed.
Cutting back along the beach a pair of Ringed Plovers were located giving the old broken-wing distraction display and I could just about make out a chick hunkered down under a clump of sea kale. The chick was only a few days old and hopefully there were others nearby and they can avoid the privations of Herring Gulls and out of control dogs, or their owners.

                                Greenland Wheatear, Lade beach

The only true migrant noted this morning was a stunning male Greenland Wheatear on the beach, etched against an azure sky and a typical date for this Arctic bound long-distance traveller.
On the down side I`ve run out of adjectives to describe how dire the moth trapping has been so far this year, what with the cold nights and blasting winds, so I`ll say no more until the situation improves...

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Nuthatch twitch..

Dengemarsh - 0700hrs - cold, sunny, nw 3 - Spent most of the  morning surveying Dengemarsh and the surrounding area for RSPB in weather more akin to March than May. On the hayfields nine Ringed and two Little Ringed Plovers, four Dunlins, two Avocets, six Redshanks, 15 Lapwings and a Blackwit, coming and going, plus the usual Shelducks, Grey Herons, Little Egrets and feral geese, including four Egyptians. Three Lapwing chicks were seen, but up to 20 crows were active with several broken duck eggs and one snatched Greylag gosling noted and dispatched. The Common Terns are now restricted to a single raft in front of the hide, the other two having been commandeered by Common Gulls. The male Marsh Harrier was bringing in food regularly, while a Bittern `boomed` throughout and was also seen briefly in flight, thanks to a shout from PB. At least six Hobbies eventually got into the air by mid-morning to hunt insects along with Swifts and hirundines, and three Common Buzzards soared over along with six Med Gulls.
Despite the cold, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Whitethroats were everywhere in song. Also noted Pochard, Shoveler, Teal, Kestrel, Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Bearded Tit and Tree Sparrow.

                                Common Gull raft

                                Crow tucking into a Greylag gosling

                                Mallard brood

                               Sedge Warbler, Dengemarsh

Dungeness - 1400hrs - This afternoon news came through from DB of a Nuthatch that came in from the east and settled briefly on a power line pole in a private garden. It then headed off north and despite further searching was not relocated, although it quite likely diverted into the Trapping Area. Nuthatches are rare hereabouts and this is only the second one I`ve heard of in ten years.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Spring Summary

Lade - The past two days have been like living in a wind tunnel with a cool, and at times gusting to near gale force westerly, blasting across the flatlands with a band of rain yesterday and some vicious hail and rain showers today. What effect this is having on our breeding birds, particularly the warblers, I dread to think. 
I spent some time this afternoon, in between the showers, checking the sheltered ponds for damsels, butterflies and the like, but there were few insects on the wing. However, plant growth had pushed on due to the recent rain and plenty of young marsh frogs were sat in the water weed. A trickle of hirundines and Swifts passed overhead and I had another brief glimpse of the rufous Cuckoo yesterday.
Once again the moth trapping continues to be pitiful due to the weather.

                                Marsh frog, Lade ponds

Spring Summary
As we move into the second half of May spring migration, such as it was, has all but petered out, although there is always the chance of something rare from the south or east, such as a Squacco or Red-foot, particularly this coming Bank Holiday weekend with an influx of birders around the peninsula.
Looking back March started off well with Sand Martin and Wheatear on 9th and 11th respectively, followed by a trickle of Black Redstarts, Firecrests and Chiffchaffs, plus a few finches and winter thrushes, an early Willow Warbler at Lade on 27th and the first Swallow at Dungeness on 31st.
By and large April was disappointing on the land with many days of clear cold nights and strong north-easterlies resulting in most migrants simply passing straight over us and inland. However, the 13th will be remembered for a large fall of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers at Dungeness, plus a few Redstarts, Tree Pipits, Ring Ouzels and singles of Pied Flycatcher and Woodlark. Scarcities in April included a Hoopoe on the bird reserve, a Wryneck at the point and flyover Osprey and Red Kites.
Into May and Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers eventually arrived in good numbers along with Swifts and more hirundines, while Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Turtle Dove were once again in single figures. Many scarce migrants in May such as Crane, Osprey, Purple Heron, Melodious Warbler, Montague`s Harrier and Golden Oriole were single observer sightings or moved through quickly, with the undoubted highlight being an adult Bonaparte`s Gull on Burrowes and only the third Dungeness record. For many birders though, myself included, a pair of White-winged Black Terns in full breeding plumage that graced the bird reserve for two days were the birds of the spring.
As for the sea it was generally considered to have been a poor year and although there was a wide variety of passage seabirds numbers were low, particularly Pomarine Skuas which appeared on only five dates between 26th April - 11th May numbering just 18 individuals. However, a trickle of Black-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver moved up-Channel, while an Iceland Gull was seen on several dates. Some decent movements of Commic Terns and Brents were noted, but numbers of waders and ducks were down.
This is only a snap look back at the spring, mostly from memory (always a bad idea!), so hardly exhaustive and hopefully there are one or two bits and pieces to come, perhaps a decent wader, now that would be good...

Sunday 17 May 2015

Lade Cuckoos

Lade - 0800hrs - cool, sunny, nw 2 - A fine morning for a circuit of the local patch in bright sunshine with a fresh north-westerly airflow. One of the mainstays at Lade this time of year are Cuckoos; infact when I let Barney out at 0600hrs this morning I could hear one singing away over on the pits. Anyhow, last year I was delighted to see a female Cuckoo of the scarce rufous morph around the willow swamp, and low and behold she, or one of her progeny, were back again this spring. Its always difficult to judge exactly how many Cuckoos are actually present but I reckon there could be up to three males across the site and at least two females, as I`ve also seen a grey morph.
Along the foreshore, on an incoming tide, the usual sandpipers and plovers were present and the first flush of sea kale was in bloom with its distinctive scent on the breeze.
Once again the garden moth catch was poor with just five species of macro, although it did include that classic shingle moth, toadflax brocade, as well as the micro, Ethmia bipunctella.

                                Sea Kale, Greatstone Beach

                               Toadflax Brocade, Lade

ARC - 1230hrs - On the way back from the allotment in Lydd, where a couple of Common Buzzards went over, we joined MH et al in the car park for a raptor watch. With Red Kites all across Kent expectancy levels were high, although none were noted here, although a Honey Buzzard did go through earlier. The main source of entertainment over Tower Pits and across to Boulderwall were Hobbies, at least 22 of `em, but I suspect there was a few more besides over Dengemarsh way that we couldn't see.
Just as we were about to leave site, North Downs and Beyond arrived and we all paid homage to the finder of Dungeness`s third Bonaparte`s Gull, yesterday evening on Burrowes (see  DBO website for pic). Whilst we were all at home listening to the footie scores and preparing for a curry, SG was still in the field connecting with an all too brief crippler. Well found Steve, and I trust you had a safe journey back home.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Waders and Turtle Doves

Lade - 0800hrs - cool, cloudy morning, warm sunny afternoon, sw 2 - South lake was smothered in hirundines and Swifts in the drizzle and murk early on, but a thorough check revealed none with red rumps, while two Common Sands flitted across north lake. Cutting back along the beach delivered a cracking set of shorebirds, many of which were in summer plum: Oystercatcher 150, Dunlin 100, Sanderling 100, Curlew 15, Barwit 12, Knot six, Tundra Plovers 23 and five Turnstones. Also quite a few Swallows hawking insects along the foreshore.

                                Tundra Plovers, Greatstone Beach

Dengemarsh - Continuing on with the wader theme the hayfields held Lapwings, Redshanks, 12 Ringed Plovers, two Dunlins, two Little Ringed Plovers, and briefly two Avocets and five Blackwits. All the usual egrets, feral geese, Marsh Harriers, Shelducks, Common Terns, Hobby, Cuckoo and Raven noted, plus `booming` Bittern.

                                Avocet and Blackwits, Hayfield 3, Dengemarsh

                                Egyptian Geese, Dengemarsh flood

A circuit of the range road yielded Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat and Little Owl in the camp.
Scotney - All the expected Yellow Wagtails, Corn and Reed Buntings, Skylarks, Avocets and Little Ringed Plovers out back, plus Marsh Harrier, 250 Mute Swans and 120 Grey Lags on the fields and 30 pairs of Black-headed Gulls on nests. The linseed crop was in full flower and looked most spectacular.

                               Linseed crop and Yellow Wagtail, Scotney

Walland Marsh - We spent a couple of hours criss-crossing the Marsh noting Yellow Wagtails, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Yellowhammers, Sedge and Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings all over the place, plus five Buzzards, two Kestrels and 12 Hobbies, Tree Sparrows, Bearded Tits and Corn Buntings at one site and Turtle Doves at three more, which were new for the year.

                                Turtle Dove, Walland Marsh

Kenardington - One of my favourite locations on the Marsh where peace and quiet reigns supreme and full of wayside birds such as Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Linnet, Yammer, Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Green and Greater peckers, another Turtle Dove and this afternoon a Cattle Egret feeding briefly on the marshland south of the canal before being flushed by a Marsh Harrier and flying off towards Warehorne. We bumped into Pam and Pete for a quick natter and also noted a plethora of insects including hairy hawker, green-veined white, orange tip, holly blue and painted lady.

                                Cattle Egret, Kenardington

Kerton Road pits - Finished off the afternoon with a late Greenshank on the gravel pits which brought the wader tally to a respectable 15 species for the day. The gull colony was impossible to count due to plant growth but several Med Gulls were still present.
A cracking days birding around the Romney Marsh with just me and Barney mooching about at a leisurely pace in fine weather, and recording 92 species of birds.
Arrived home to news that QPR had finished off their home games with a 2-1 win over Newcastle, happy days... Now for a curry...

                                "Beats seawatching any day"

Friday 15 May 2015

Hirundines and Swifts

Lade - 0930hrs - warm, dry and sunny, ne 2 - Following the monsoon of yesterday, warm sunshine and light airs this morning brought the birds out with Whitethroats and Linnets particularly prominent, singing atop the storm beach scrub. Over south lake a couple of hundred hirundines (mainly Swallows) and Swifts hawked insects while many more were grounded on the shingle and perched on overhead wires. Several hundred more Swallows moved straight through heading north. On the raptor front, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel all noted, plus Cuckoo, Little Egret and Green Woodpecker.

                                Swallows, Lade

Dungeness - 1500hrs - With the wind veering to the fabled south-east we spent an hour seawatching from the hide, and sea was just about all we saw, if you catch my drift...
Burrowes - Joined SG and DW checking through hundreds more hirundines from Dennis`s hide, but to no avail, great sight though as they rose up and down, en-masse, every so often. There was no sign of the White-winged Black Terns, which were present earlier in the afternoon, but by 1900hrs they had returned (PB); they had also been seen over Dengemarsh.