Lade - warm, dry and sunny, light airs - The unseasonably mild, spring-like weather continues, thanks to a plume of warm air funnelling up from the Azores. With news of hirundines already in the West Country, hopes were high for an early migrant or two at our end of the country, but apart from the first Sandwich Tern of the year yesterday off Dungeness and four on the beach opposite here this morning all has been quiet. The local patch feels like spring, but birdwise appears stuck in a winter rut still.
Visits to the point have delivered a few seabirds such as auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers, while the wintering Black Redstart was perched briefly atop the Pilot pub when I came past yesterday. Remarkably, two Swallows were reportedly seen flying around the old water tower at Littlestone this afternoon, the first I can recall in February!
Dungeness RSPB - A circular walk for 22 guests this morning was more memorable for the glorious weather rather than birds seen, while it was good to see a few children in the throng. However, Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret, Stonechat, Cetti`s Warblers and 15 Mipits were noted from the Return Trail and Dengemarsh. On Burrowes the usual gulls, Cormorants, Lapwings and winter wildfowl including two Goldeneyes. I eventually tracked down what must be the most mobile drake Smew ever, initially on New Excavations, before it moved onto the ponds in front of Christmas Dell hide. Also noted four Curlews on the hayfield and a Chiffchaff by Scott hide. As I say, poor fare really, but the guests seemed happy enough with what we saw.