Sunday 15 January 2017

Iceland Gulls and `that Stonechat`

Lade - cold and wet, w 2 - After a day in London yesterday it felt good to be out and about around the local patch this morning, and despite the grim weather it proved to be a decent wildfowl count with plenty of variety. A Slavonian Grebe was back on south lake, plus a duck Smew, while a drake Goosander dropped in on north lake and Goldeneyes tallied 14 across both waters. Other birds of note included a Great White Egret, two miserable rain-soaked Marsh Harriers, a Chiffchaff and Cetti`s Warbler.

                               Goldeneyes, Slavonian Grebe and Goosander, Lade pits

  The walk back along the beach was more to inspect the damage caused by Friday`s storm surge, and indeed the sand dunes by the Romney Tavern had taken a bit of a battering with marram grass roots strewn along the tideline. However, the Turnstones were taking full advantage of this `new habitat`, foraging amongst the detritus delivered from both land and sea.
  Further south along the shingle beach the spring tides had dragged up huge quantities of pebbles with the ebb causing a long reach of stones back to the muddy bay. Every so often the steeper part of the shingle beach that had absorbed the sea was still spewing out streams of water forming intricate patterns in the sand like varicose veins. 

                               Storm damaged sand dunes, Romney Tavern

                                Flood water in the shingle bank

Dungeness and Walland Marsh - Joined CP for the monthly harrier count this afternoon. En-route we diverted to The Patch where two 1st winter Iceland Gulls were feeding around the boil. The light was dreadful, so no chance of any piccies. Also present amongst the throng were several Mediterranean Gulls and Kittiwakes. Around the sewage plant on `A` station two Grey Wagtails were noted alongside a few Pied Wagtails and Mipits.
  With the rising temperatures and light airs came mist, plus a persistent drizzle, making for difficult viewing conditions out on the Marsh. On the walk out to site we noted 42 Bewick`s Swans and a couple of perched Marsh Harriers, but not a single harrier came to roost in the reedbed.
The Lydd-on-Sea Stonechat -  Oh dear! There seems to have been a bit of an admin problem at the DNA lab where the sample from the grey chat was processed. Apparently, there was a mix up between two sets of poo and following a retest it now transpires that `our bird` is nothing more than a common or garden Stonechat, and not a Stejneger`s type as first thought.
  And to think that Shepway District Council went to all the trouble of erecting that smart new Kerton Road sign so the twitchers could find the site...


  1. In this instance Dylan, it sure did!

  2. Some days, just being an ordinary patch watching and pager-less birdwatcher does make one feel stress free and comfortable.

  3. Couldn`t agree more on that one Derek!