Monday, 26 March 2018


Dungeness - 0830hrs - mild, dry, sunny, light airs - Strolling down to the seawatch hide on a warm spring morning I could not have guessed what awaited me. Approaching the hide I noticed a flat calm sea with nothing much happening bird wise, although the regulars were intently `scoping an area off to the south-west where a couple of dolphins were swimming around. Over the next hour we watched as they moved steadily eastwards as the Range Boat approached, and at one stage were briefly joined by a much smaller Harbour Porpoise. They appeared to be fishing, judging from the nearby plunge-diving Gannets, and would submerge for several minutes followed by a bout of action on the surface, during which time they twice leaped almost clear of the water.
  The dolphins were obviously large, heavy looking cetaceans with an erect dorsal fin, greyish above and pale below, and at least once I caught sight of a yellowish streak which left me confused as to their specific identity. They were also quite a way offshore which didn't help, but were probably either Common or Bottlenose Dolphins, both of which would`ve been new for me off Dungeness, although "dolphins" are often reported in the Channel by fishermen.
  During the watch Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Red-throated Diver, auks, Great Crested Grebe and Common Scoter were all noted in variable numbers, plus four Mergansers, two Teal and a Fulmar.
  Another hour this afternoon at the boats delivered similar fare feeding offshore, but no real  movement.
Lade - Not much change from the weekend on the lakes with the wintering ducks and grebes. On the bay a flock of 15 Ringed Plovers was noteworthy.

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