Wednesday 31 August 2016

Roseate Tern

Lade - warm, misty, light airs - 0600hrs - With dew on the plants we headed straight for the ponds, a notable local sun trap where any grounded warblers would be drying off in the sunshine. Sure enough several Willow Warblers filtered through the willows, one in near full song, with at least four Cetti`s Warblers noisily crashing about lower down. In the reedbeds several Reed Warblers and a Sedge, plus five Common Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat nearby popped out of cover to take in the drying rays. Around the willow swamp, Kingfisher, Water Rail and two Common Sandpipers noted, while a couple of hundred Greylags flew over south lake as we walked the desert by Mockmill where six Wheatears and two Whinchats present.

                                A migrant Sedge Warbler

                                Goldcrest, first autumn record

   Back home, whilst having breakfast in the garden, the first Goldcrest of the autumn was heard in the fir trees and it also came down to drink from the pond. The buddleia was once again busy with insects, including two Hummingbird Hawk-moths and several Painted Ladies, but the garden moth trap was quiet with a paltry 15 species, but did harbour a tatty Jersey Tiger; I also made my annual hash of misidentifying a Yellow-barred Brindle, as the proprietor of the Kerton Road Café so diplomatically reminded me !!
ARC - 1030hrs - Nothing much doing here on the wader front apart from 10 Dunlins, five Ringed Plovers, four Snipe and a Little Stint amongst the usual eclipse ducks.
Greatstone Beach - 1330hrs - On a falling tide we wandered down towards the Tavern to scan the sands which was heaving with birds on the Lade side due to a beach full of holidaymakers further along. Of interest was a large flock of terns comprising 325 Sandwich, 25 Common, two Black and a cracking adult Roseate Tern that flew in with a group of Commons. Immediately it drew the eye being much paler than its cohorts with a distinctive thin, black wedge on the outer primaries. On the deck it showed a black cap, flecked white, a black bill with a reddish base, and there was even a hint of pink on the breast.
  As for waders at least 450 Dunlins and 50 Sanderlings were counted along with 320 Oystercatchers, 12 Ringed Plovers, six Knots, two Turnstones and a Barwit, while the Curlews flew in just as we were leaving.


  1. The joys of living near a main migration stopping off area, so many birds! With The Swale NNR now resembling a desert, birds are very thin on the ground, as nine wildfowlers found this morning when they kicked off a new shooting season.

  2. We are fortunate down here Derek and having previously lived inland for many years I never take it for-granted. Even with declining migrant numbers, because we have a range of habitats in a small area there is nearly always something of interest. Very dry down here too by the way.