Wednesday 28 February 2018

Sub-zero birding

Lade - very cold, sunny, E 6 - With a wind speed of Force 6/7 and -2 C during the morning the wind chill factor was fierce and it was not a day to be out in the open for too long. First thing we worked the local patch where the Long-tailed Duck showed briefly on the far side of south lake before retreating into the reedbed, while five Goldeneyes out on the lake made light of the Siberian weather conditions. A small flock of Reed Buntings foraging along the main track, the males in spanking  nuptial plumage, hinted at the coming spring, in contrast to several Fieldfares fleeing in off the sea.
Greatstone - News came through from OL concerning a mixed passerine flock he`d just found in stubble fields to the south of the sewage works complete with a couple of Lapland Buntings. We were soon on site and checking through around 50 odd Skylarks, Mipits and a couple of Reed Buntings. Eventually, a Lap Bunting broke cover, called and showed in flight before plunging back into cover. At least 100 Golden Plovers were also feeding amongst the stubble.
Lade Bay - We checked the bay for waders on a falling tide from two locations, seeking shelter best we could from the blasting wind, and eventually located eight species, and just as were leaving a 1st winter Little Gull flew along the beach heading south, the final bird of the Birdwatching Break.

                                Frozen sea ice, Lade bay

  Considering the weather conditions we somehow managed to locate 90 species over the three days including Hawfinch, Slavonian Grebe, Smew, Great White Egret, Long-tailed Duck, Kingfisher, Firecrest, Little and Glaucous Gulls and Lapland Bunting, so a decent collection of wintering birds.
  As I said to our guests, Clare and Peter, this was without doubt the coldest bird tour I`ve done since starting Plovers almost 13 years ago. As Peter said, "we birded through the Beast from the East and survived"!  

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Gulls and ducks

Dungeness very cold, snow showers, E 5 - Another bitter cold day with sub-zero temperatures throughout and a blasting wind off the sea - just right for a days guiding! However, we joined PB at the Patch where a blizzard of gulls over the boil contained at least four Mediterranean Gulls, plus the regular Glaucous Gull on the beach. Offshore a few Gannets, Guillemots and Red-throated Divers drifted by and a flock of four Meadow Pipits were noted by the power station wall.


                               Adult Mediterranean Gulls, the Patch

RSPB - We spent most of the day on the bird reserve starting at ARC where a mixed flock of Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest performed in a sun trap from the willow trail, plus a flushed Water Rail. Another Chiffchaff feeding in the reeds in front of the hide was seen to pick off a spider. Snipe, Marsh Harrier, Goldeneye and 500 Wigeon also noted. At Boulderwall we had good views of Tree Sparrows, tits and finches on the feeders, while Curlews, Golden Plovers and Lapwings probed the frozen fields nearby.
  The circular walk delivered a perched Kingfisher which caught a fish, Great White Egret, three Smews and a Slavonian Grebe from Christmas Dell hide, 20 Pintail and five Snipe from Dengemarsh, plus Raven, Sparrowhawk, Dabchick, Redshank, Buzzard, several Marsh Harriers and another different Glaucous Gull back on Burrowes.
  We finished a very cold day in the field at Kerton Road pit with distant views of a Long-tailed Duck.

                                Kingfisher and Chiffchaff

Monday 26 February 2018

Hawfinches and snow flurries

Lade - cold, cloudy, snow flurries, E6 - We didn't tarry long out in the open first thing due to a raw-bone wind, just checked nothing new had dropped in on the lakes overnight, which it hadn't, before scurrying home for a bowl of porridge.
Godmersham - After picking up Clare and Peter from Ashford station (down from London for a three day Birdwatching Break) we headed over the hills to the churchyard at Godmersham in search of Hawfinches, and were not disappointed as a pair of these giant finches performed to order. They spent most of their time feeding in the yew trees, but also perched out in the open and on the floor underneath a holm oak, before flying off to roost.

  Plenty of other members of the thrush and finch families in particular were noted nearby including Redwing and Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch and Goldfinch, plus Green Woodpeckers and cracking views of a pair of Goldcrests foraging along a yew hedge.


Conningsbrook Lakes - En-route back to the Marsh we called in at the country park lakes for a look around but could only find a few common ducks such as Pochard and Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe and a small gull roost.
Walland Marsh - Called in at a barren Scotney where a pair of Ringed Plovers on the double bend grass were about the only birds of note. Crossing the Marsh, four Buzzards, Fieldfares, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Tree Sparrows were all logged. At the harrier roost several close birds soon drifted off to the main site where up to ten birds came in and a Merlin showed briefly.
  It was one of the coldest days in the field I could remember with light snow flurries and a bitterly cold east wind throughout. We were all glad to get back indoors.

Sunday 25 February 2018

Flotsam and jetsom

Lade - cold, sunny, E6 - We didn't stray too far this weekend, just walked the local patch and along the foreshore up to Greatstone where the wind chill on the beach was so severe that any exposed skin, such as cheeks, actually stung after a while. Barney, however, is made of sterner stuff and trotted along as if it were a summers day.
  Six species of waders were noted on the falling tide and a `white` Glaucous Gull flew along the seashore heading towards Dungeness.

                                Beach flotsam, Lade bay

  Due to the wind strength and direction the foreshore was littered with all manner of flotsam and jetsom from natural cockles, razor shells and cuttlefish to bladder wrack, tree trunks and two porpoise corpses (probably drowned from become entangled in nets). Man-made litter was rife, mostly detritous from the fishing industry, which must be one of the most destructive and wasteful, with fish boxes, netting, dunnage and the like everywhere, plus plastic bags, bottles and all manner of containers. What a mess we`re making of this planet.
  On the lakes the Long-tailed Ducks were still present, plus two Goosanders briefly on north lake and several Goldeneyes amongst the commoner wildfowl. Surprisingly, a few passerines were logged including a couple of smart Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Cetti`s Warbler and at least one Dartford Warbler. 

Friday 23 February 2018

Weekly Summary

Lade - cold and sunny, E5 - A nippy old morning on the local patch with an eye-watering wind out of the east. It was a case of birding from the shelter of the gorse patches along south lake where the pair of Long-tailed Ducks spent more time submerged than on the surface. Goldeneyes had risen to five, while unbelievably, given the wind strength, a Dartford Warbler briefly burst into song.
  There was no change to the variety of birds around Dungeness today (see yesterdays post).

Thursday 22 February 2018

Starlings in the sun

Dungeness - cold, sunny, E 4 - We joined PB at the Patch first thing where the dark 1st winter Glaucous Gull was loafing on the beach amongst a loose flock of gulls. There was little else of note apart from a brown Merlin along the beach, plus a few auks and distant Gannets offshore. Called in at the bird reserve where the Black-throated Diver was still on Burrowes. The usual Smew and Slavonian Grebe were also present, although the grebe had moved to New Diggings (PB).

                                Sunshine Starling

  There was no change at Lade where the wintering pair of Long-tailed Ducks remained on south lake. At home the Starlings were enjoying the winter sunshine, cackling away to one another and sporting their finery. 

Monday 19 February 2018

Brown Hares and first moth of 2018

Lade - mild and miserable - These past couple of days have been grim with a steady drizzle, low cloud and murky weather conditions throughout, although it brightened up for a while this afternoon as the wind picked up from the north. Still, at least its mild, in contrast to the sub-zero day time temperatures forecast for next week Tramping around the local patch has not been particularly rewarding with just the usual wildfowl on south lake, including the two wintering Long-tailed Ducks.
  For a change of scene we walked the beach at Dungeness behind the fishing boats where a couple of Skylarks were the only birds of note. Visibility offshore this morning was only a couple of hundred yards. Down at the Patch the original brown looking 1st winter Glaucous Gull was present and later noted on Burrowes along with another paler individual that also put in an appearance at the fishing boats mid-afternoon (PB).
  Whilst driving to the point I noticed a winged insect flying around in the car, so pulled over and potted it up. It proved to be a pristine Double-striped Pug, my first moth of the year, although not exactly in the circumstances I was expecting! How it got there remains a mystery...

                                Double-striped Pug, found in the car!

The other day whilst studying a large flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings on Boulderwall fields I noticed a movement in a fold in the land. Closer inspection revealed it to belong to the black ear tips of a Hare, and after a while it emerged into the open in all its glory sporting large back legs and bulging eyes set atop an alert head, features which distinguish it from the commoner and smaller rabbit.
  It was the first Brown Hare that I`d seen this year and as it gambolled into cover and flattened its body against the earth it all but disappeared; to be abroad in daylight hours is a risky business for a mammal that is largely nocturnal and on many a menu.
  About now their mating ritual gets underway. The bucks pursue a doe who refuses their advances by rearing up on her hind legs and `boxing` the bucks away, signifying that she is not yet ready to mate. Formerly this behaviour was considered to be rival bucks fighting for territorial rights and led to the popular idiom of as "mad as a March hare". Indeed, they are also steeped in the folk lore of these islands and famously featured in the Alice in Wonderland tales, while in Anglo Saxon culture hares were considered symbols of fertility and heralds of spring.
  Brown Hares are prodigious breeders having several litters of young from February until September. The leverets are born above ground in a depression in the grass known as a `form` and emerge into the world fully furred and ready to run, which is essential to their survival considering how many enemies they have, such as Fox, Stoat and Buzzard.
  Sadly down here on the Marsh the sight of `boxing` Hares has become an all too uncommon sight as numbers have declined sharply in recent years. Large tracts of farmland more suitable to the Hares` needs have been converted from sheep production and are now intensively farmed arable deserts where few creatures can survive. Combine that with the fact that illegal coursing with long dogs still continues, plus Hares can be legally shot as a game species, it is nothing short of a miracle that any remain extant today.
  But survive they do, against all the odds, and long may they do so as the Marsh landscape would be all the poorer without the Brown Hare, one of our most fascinating and endearing native mammals.   


Sunday 18 February 2018

WeBS and Harriers

Dungeness - 0730hrs - warm, dry and sunny, S 2 - Another stunning day with blue skies and light airs. At the Patch the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was on the beach amongst a large mixed flock of gulls before being spooked by a Peregrine. It then flew over the power station complex and eventually settled down on B station. Offshore the usual Gannets, a few auks and a party of eight Brents up-Channel. On land several Mipits and plenty of singing Dunnocks, Great Tits and Chaffinches, plus a Goldcrest in the moat.

                                Glaucous Gull, B Station

Lade - Plenty of wildfowl across both lakes with a top count of 340 Shovelers, plus the now expected two Long-tailed Ducks and three Goldeneyes. Whilst counting the ducks an Avocet briefly dropped in and spin-fed amongst a pack of Shoveler looking for all the world like a massive pied phalarope!
A Bittern flew along the far reed bed where a Marsh Harrier was also noted. The Dartford Warblers proved elusive again, unlike Dunnock, Great Tit, Greenfinch and Chaffinch which all sang from atop the gorse scrub.

                                Finches enjoying the sunshine

RSPB - After a spot of breakfast we moved onto the bird reserve where the fields at Boulderwall were packed out with Wigeon, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Curlew, Stock Dove and Starling. Several Marsh Harriers kept the birds alert and two redhead Smew were on Tanner`s pool. On Burrowes the Black-throated Diver proved difficult to locate as it dived for food while the Glaucous Gull roosted on an island opposite the visitors centre. The drake Smew and Slavonian Grebe were reported from Christmas Dell pool.
Walland Marsh - A run out this afternoon on the Marsh with CP for the monthly harrier count in perfect weather conditions delivered 21 Marsh Harriers coming to roost, including six males. The last two counts in foul weather delivered three and nil birds, so this was a real treat and a return to more normal numbers of roosting birds. Also noted our first Barn Owl for a while, plus several Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, 105 Mute Swans, 25 Corn Buntings, 200 Fieldfares, Bearded Tit, Cetti`s Warblers, Reed Bunting, Raven, Stonechat and calling Water Rails.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Sunshine birding

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - A splendid morning to be out and about birding in pleasant sunshine and no coat required for the first time this year. The two Long-tailed Ducks were active on south lake and the Shoveler count reached 250, where at least four pairs of Great Crested Grebe had teamed up. Goldeneyes though were down to just three birds. The Dartford Warblers proved frustratingly difficult to see despite the fine weather with just fleeting glimpses but lots of vocalising.
By mid-morning three Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard took to the thermals behind the wall `mirror` where a film shoot was underway.

                               Long-tailed Duck, Lade south

                                Crows nest, Kerton Road

Dungeness - By midday the point was busy with visitors and fisherman in the sunshine. A Grey Seal showed well offshore opposite the seawatch hide, while at the Patch the 1st winter Glaucous Gull went between the beach and the power station complex, where both Raven and Kestrel noted.
  A wander around the Kerton Road triangle and down beside the quarry produced several Dartford Warblers, Stonechats and a small flock of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

Friday 16 February 2018


Godmersham - 0930hrs - cold, dry, sunny - A cracking winters day for a trip off the Marsh with CP and MH to view the churchyard Hawfinches. However, despite the clear blue skies and bright sunshine we could only muster brief views of two birds in trees outside the church, in contrast to last week when up to 20 were noted hereabouts. There were plenty of other species on offer though, many in full song such as Mistle and Song Thrushes, plus Marsh, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Jay and Buzzard.

                                Spring lambs, Godmersham

                                Red Kite over the downs

North Downs - We then moved onto a downland viewpoint to scan for soaring raptors. With the morning wearing on and warm sunshine forcing draughts of air off the bare farmland into the ether conditions were ripe for a decent count, but even we were surprised at the numbers of birds of prey on the wing. During the course of an hour we totalled up to 25 Common Buzzards airborne at any one sweep of the optics, including a `kettle` of 13 and one near pure white individual perched atop a tree. Best of all though was up to four Red Kites, one of which soared virtually overhead, plus four Sparrowhawks and three Kestrels. While all this was going on, Skylarks were constantly in view and singing over the arableland, while Yellowhammer, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Red-legged Partridge were also noted.
  More often than not on this blog I`m moaning about the loss of this bird or that, but at least the raptors are faring well. I couldn't have imagined seeing such numbers even 20 years ago.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Winter regulars

Lade - cold, cloudy, S 3 - Not too bad a start to the day weather wise, although the wind picked up again during the morning meaning passerines were at a premium. The wintering Long-tailed Ducks continue to remain faithful to south lake and a Great White Egret was again present in the main reedbed.

                                Winter ducks on Burrowes

Dungeness - A guided walk for RSPB this morning around the circular walk made for difficult birding conditions in the strong wind. However, three Smew and a Slavonian Grebe were located on the lakes in front of Christmas Dell hide, while a Goldeneye showed well from Makepeace hide. At Dengemarsh a Great White Egret and male Merlin were the highlights. Also noted hundreds of Golden Plovers, Lapwings, Stock Doves, Starlings and Linnets on the fields behind Dengemarsh and on Boulderwall. Elsewhere, the Black-throated Diver was back on ARC and the Glaucous Gull was at the Patch.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Southerly gale

Dungeness - cold, cloudy, wintry showers, S 6 - What a difference a day makes. Yesterday morning Dartford Warblers were singing atop gorse scrub at Lade in light airs against a blue sky backdrop. Not so today though with a vicious southerly blow making walking out in the open difficult, and by late morning building up to gale force with a rash of sleety showers.
  While it was still dry we opted for an hour at the fishing boats gazing out across a choppy Channel with plenty of gulls, Cormorants and auks fizzing by. As is often the case with a big sea running here seawatching is not at its best, and so it proved this morning with only a few Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Fulmars and a Merganser to keep the interest going.
  The bird reserve wasn't much better with most of the wildfowl hunkered down at the south end of Burrowes sheltering from the blow, although a drake Smew didn't seem to be phased by the conditions as it fished in open water in front of the visitors centre. There was no sign of yesterdays plastic Pochard on the Dipping Pool, although it could have been hunkered down just about anywhere across the reserve. On the way out the Boulderwall fields attracted a large mixed flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Ringed Plovers

Lade - cold, sunny, nw 4 - These past couple of days have been spent without using the car, so on shanks pony, criss-crossing the local patch and along the beach down to Littlestone, up to the Pilot and around Kerton Road pit. We must`ve done a good few miles of shingle stomping and to be fair there were one or two bits and pieces of interest.
  On the lake nothing much has changed with the two wintering Long-tailed Ducks still present among around 800 wildfowl including 200 Shovelers, eight Goldeneyes and a brief flirtation by two Goosanders yesterday. This morning a Great White Egret in the main reed bed was new for the year and at the top end of north lake a Green Sandpiper fed along the shingle margin. The Kerton Road waters held only small numbers of ducks, plus hundreds of gulls and Oystercatchers at high tide.
  Yesterday morning we took in Mockmill where a new Dartford Warbler was located way out on the Desert in a gorse thicket, the perfect site for a breeding pair to settle down in... The regular birds were also noted in the Kerton Road triangle and beside the south lake track at Lade, along with singing Dunnock, Chaffinch and our first Linnet of the year. Around the willow swamp Cetti`s Warblers were in good voice along with Great Tits, where Reed Bunting, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff also noted.
  On the bay nine species of waders were seen with a flock of 15 Ringed Plovers suggesting some sort of movement of what is a scarce shorebird here. Numbers of most other species appeared to be similar to last months count with only Redshank absent.
  A profitable enough weekend then with 62 species logged, and all within two miles of Plovers cottage; now that can`t be bad.

                                Ringed Plover, from the archives

Friday 9 February 2018

Weekly Summary

Lade - cold, cloudy, nw 4 - A miserable morning with rain throughout, but brighter later. On the local patch this afternoon the two Long-tailed Ducks were still present on south lake while at least one Dartford Warbler called from gorse scrub beside the track.
  Its pretty much a case of as-you-were bird wise this week across the Dungeness foreland. Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and three Smew are still on the bird reserve but mobile; the diver goes between Burrowes, ARC and New Diggings, while the grebe and Smews favour Christmas Dell.
Best bet for Bittern and Great White Egret are from Hanson hide on ARC and Dengemarsh hide.
  Elsewhere, the two Tundra Bean Geese are still attached to the Greylag flock at Scotney while the 1st winter Glaucous Gull tends to spend the morning at the Patch and the afternoon on Burrowes. On a calm day Dartford Warblers can be encountered just about anywhere there is gorse scrub from Lade to the Kerton Road triangle, onto the Dungeness estate and Dengemarsh.
  As far as I`m aware there have been no reports of the Bewick`s Swans this week on Walland Marsh or coming to roost on the bird reserve at dusk. 

Thursday 8 February 2018

Mopping up

Dungeness - cold, sunny, light airs - A stunning morning with bright sunshine, perfect for mopping up a few species for the guests that we missed earlier in the week. At the Patch the 1st winter Glaucous Gull eventually showed up close to the hide despite the shingle lorries passing close by. Offshore a few Gannets, auks and divers through.

                                Glaucous Gull, Patch

  A brief stop at the Kerton Road yielded a pair of Stonechats with a Dartford Warbler in tow. Moving onto Scotney and our luck was in with the two Tundra Bean Geese tucked in on the edge of the Greylag flock on the far side of the lake from the double bends. At Lydd Army camp we noted a Little Owl enjoying the sunshine, before finishing at Hanson hide where a pair of Chiffchaffs put on a great show in front of the hide snapping up insects rising off the reedbed. On the water hundreds of ducks, Lapwings, Cormorants and a Great White Egret.

                                Chiffchaff, ARC

                                Little Owl, Lydd

  And so ended a superb week of winter birding for our guests from Dorset during which time we rattled up a respectable 97 species. The highlights being the Hawfinches at Godmersham; Smew, Slavonian Grebe, Black-throated Diver, Tree Sparrow and Merlin on the bird reserve; Long-tailed Duck, Lade;Tundra Geese, Scotney; and for the sheer spectacle of it, 17 Marsh Harriers coming to roost at a reedbed site on Walland.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

King of the finches

Godmersham - cold, grey, drizzle, n 2 - En-route to north Kent we stopped off with the group at Godmersham church for Hawfinches. These are the first we`ve seen since last autumns invasion/irruption and we were not disappointed with up to 20 noted during our two hour visit. Sadly the light conditions were appalling, which severely limited photographic opportunities.
  Also noted in the general area Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch, Nuthatch, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest and Great spotted Woodpecker.

                                Godmersham church and Hawfinch

                                Pintail and Stock Dove, Oare Marshes

Oare Marshes - The afternoon was spent on the coast checking out waders and wildfowl on The Swale and adjacent freshwater marshes. Hundreds of Avocet, Blackwit, Dunlin and Redshank noted, plus Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck and Pintail. Scanning across to Sheppey resulted in a constant movement of hunting raptors, mostly Marsh Harriers but also Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. On the reserve, Kingfisher, Bearded Tit, Cetti`s Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch and Stonechat. Despite extensive searching we could find no sign of the wintering dowitcher.

Tuesday 6 February 2018


Dungeness - cold, dry and sunny, n 4 - Another nippy old day across the peninsula, particularly during the afternoon when the cloud cover came over. We kicked off at the Patch where the Glaucous Gull was a no show. Offshore a trickle of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Common Scoters and auks moved between the bays. On the coast road just before the fish shop a Black Redstart popped up onto a garden wall.
  At Lade pits the two Long-tailed Ducks eventually showed on south lake, plus seven Goldeneyes across both waters and several hundred Shoveler and Teal. On the bay from the Varne boat ramp five species of waders noted.
  Moving onto the bird reserve we had superb views of a male Merlin perched on a post at Dengemarsh, plus a pair of Smew and a Great White Egret. From Christmas Dell hide the Slavonian Grebe showed well. On Burrowes the Glaucous Gull allude us yet again but we did note Pintail, Raven and Avocet, new for the trip list. Much has been said locally about the extraordinary numbers of Cormorants at Dungeness during the afternoon, and today was no different with at least 4,000 present.

    2,000 Cormorants

Monday 5 February 2018

Snowy Lade

Lade - cold, wintry showers, ne 4 - A bitter cold start to the week with a rasping north-easterly blowing in sleety showers off the bay, some of which briefly settled; Barney couldn't quite make it out! A Long-tailed Duck showed well on south lake amongst the flurries.

Dungeness - A four day Birdwatching Break for three guests from Dorset kicked of with Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe on New Diggings. Moving on to Hanson hide, where a Robin kept popping in through the flap to feed, a Great White Egret and 20 Dunlin were noted among the usual wildfowl and the Tree Sparrows were noted in the Boulderwall garden. Following a tip off from PB concerning the Bean and White-fronted Geese at Scotney we nipped round to the double bends where the geese had just been flushed by the shepherd feeding the sheep, although the Barnacle flock was still present.
Walland Marsh - Criss-crossing the flatlands checking for wild swans drew a blank, infact very little of note was seen apart from six Buzzards and a Kestrel. However, we finished the day in fine style with 17 Marsh Harriers coming to roost at a reed bed site, including four adult males and a large white-headed female. Fabulous stuff.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Beastly easterly

Lade - cold, showery, ne 4 - Over the course of the weekend the wind swung steadily round to the north-east and picked up through today along with a series of sleety showers bringing `proper` winter weather to our shores. It didn't seem to deter the windsurfers though and by midday the Lade toilet block car park was full of serious, hard core surfers taking advantage of the `beast from the east`. Young folk don't seem to feel the cold; I remember it well...
  However, bird wise on the local patch it was pretty much a case of `as you were` with the two Long-tailed Ducks and associated wildfowl on south lake, plus a brief appearance of a Dartford Warbler in the calm of yesterday.
  Elsewhere this weekend Dungeness was best avoided due to the annual Dab fishing competition which normally means wall-to-wall fisherman along the shoreline. News from the bird reserve concerned a similar suite of birds to last week.

                                Super moon over Plovers last week


Friday 2 February 2018

Weekly summary

Lade - cold, dry, sunny, nw 4 - A nippy day to end the week with a cold wind blowing across the flatlands. No change on the local patch with the wintering Long-tailed Duck remaining on south lake among good numbers ducks and grebes.
Dungeness  - At the Patch the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was roosting on the beach among a pack of 500 gulls, while a Peregrine sat asleep high up on B station. The usual auks, Kittiwakes, Gannets and Red-throated Divers rounded the point in small numbers.
  On the RSPB reserve both Slavonian Grebe and Black-throated Diver were on ARC to start with before the diver moved back to Burrowes. Also mobile on Burrowes and Christmas Dell were three Smew, including a drake. The Bewick`s Swan flock have also been mobile this week, being seen just about anywhere on Walland Marsh from Caldecote Lane to Brookland. The Greylag flock on the double bends at Scotney is the best bet for the two Tundra Geese, while the Glaucous Gull has been regularly seen coming to roost on Burrowes from Makepeace hide. Dartford Warblers have also been seen at Lade and around the old lighthouse at Dungeness this week on the few fine, still days.