Friday 24 April 2020

Lade seawatching

Lade - Lockdown Day 32 - cool, dry and sunny, ne 3 - After 31 consecutive morning circuits of the local patch our routine was inadvertently interrupted today as I waited in for a telephone consultancy with a doctor over a long running shoulder injury. It was my fault entirely as I should`ve sorted it out weeks ago. But I`m pleased to report that despite the NHS being under unprecedented pressure the new system worked well with a prompt diagnosis over the phone, the e-mailing of a prescription to our local pharmacy and physiotherapy advice via video call to follow - result!
  However, this afternoon I thought I`d try a 30 minute seawatch off the Lade boardwalk, which is about 200yds from our cottage and deep within east facing Lade bay, so not an inviting prospect.
There are certain conditions to consider when attempting a viable spring seawatch from Lade: ideally, total cloud cover in the morning combined with a high tide and a brisk south-easterly wind is best, although all three of these factors are rarely aligned. The hope then is that eastbound migrating seabirds crossing the bay between Dungeness and Folkestone get pushed briefly into range, although even then views are at best distant. Late summer and autumn seawatches are far more profitable as birds haven't got the urgency of spring and loiter awhile, particularly terns and skuas.
  Anyhow, conditions were not good this afternoon as the sky was cloudless and the wind too far round to the north-east; infact everything was wrong! But these are desperate times when missing a seawatching fix at locked down Dungeness only two miles away. The sum total was predictable: two Cormorants, two Sandwich Terns, two Mediterranean Gulls and a distant Gannet - roll on spring 2021!

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