Lade - mild, wet and cloudy, W 3 - A grim morning with low cloud and steady rain out of the west, in contrast to the bright sunshine of yesterday. Chugging around the local patch in the Saturday sun delivered good views of all three warblers: Dartford, Cetti`s and Chiffchaff in their respective habitats - gorse, reed and willow. A surprising small fall of winter thrushes around the ponds included three Fieldfares and two Redwings.
A Saturday afternoon visit to the Bird Observatory was preceded by a search for a Siberian Chiffchaff in the Trapping Area without success, although it was seen again today (DBO).
We eventually got into the field around noon, when the rain relented and the wind backed off, for our usual circular walk. There was a noticeable increase in Teal with a count of 210 on south lake and around the willow swamp; cracking little ducks with their distinctive `prritt` calls reverberating across the water. The tide was ebbing as we hit the bay with several large flocks of nervy Dunlin and Sanderling on the tideline contrasting with the more laid back and approachable Turnstones and Ringed Plovers closer to the shingle beach. A lone, skulking LBJ set the pulse racing in the sand dunes until it showed itself as a stripy Reed Bunting.
During our two hour ramble I met one of the regular dog-walkers, a visitor from London off to photograph the `mirrors` and another two dog-walkers on the beach; infact, a typical Sunday outing. It was a balmy afternoon perfect for a stroll across one of the quieter reaches of the Dungeness NNR and yet for most of the walk it was deserted, and its the same throughout the year, even on a summers day. Why more local folk aren't out and about enjoying this wonderful place is a recurring mystery to me.