Monday 31 May 2021


 Lade - warm, dry and sunny, NE 3-4 - A long weekend of fine weather with a keen wind off the bay made for chilly mornings and attracted hundreds of kite-surfers to the beach hereabouts. Due to the influx of holidaymakers we kept well away from Dungeness, concentrating on the local patch and, at last, enjoying a few moths in the garden trap and afternoon butterflies. Moth numbers remain low due to the cool nights but did include a smart and localised White Spot and a Rustic Shoulder-knot, a common enough species but one that I don`t get here very often. 

                                 Sea Kale and clams/gapers on the beach

                                 Rustic Shoulder-knot, White Spot and Shears

Bird wise migration appears to have hit the buffers with a party of 65 summer plumage Sanderlings on the sands yesterday the only migrants of any note. Elsewhere, all the common warblers and Cuckoos are well into their breeding cycles alongside the resident wildfowl and grebes. A mid-morning raptor watch yielded five Buzzards, two Marsh Harriers and a Sparrowhawk thermalling over the airport fields and adjacent shingle ridges, while Sandwich and Common Terns, four Mediterranean Gulls and a Hobby flew over the garden during the course of the weekend. I cannot remember a Bank Holiday weekend when so few unusual birds were discovered across the Dungeness peninsula with just a flyover Serin and Bee-eater of any note, both of which were seen or heard by only a handful of observers.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Spotted Flycatchers

Dungeness - warm, dry and sunny, light airs - At last, a proper spring-like morning with welcome warm sunshine that encouraged a few butterflies onto the wing such as Painted Lady, Common Blue, Small Heath and Holly Blue. Our final session for Clare and Peter started in some style at the north end of Long Pits where five Spotted Flycatchers performed to order in the small aspen copse and adjacent trees towards the Desert. Also noted a female Redstart and plenty of song from Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, a Garden Warbler and a soaring Sparrowhawk. 

                                  Common Blue, Desert

                                  Spotted Flycatchers, Long Pits

                                 Glossy Ibis, ARC

On ARC we had good views of the `resident` Glossy Ibis among the Black-headed Gull colony, plus two Redshanks, two Sand Martins and a Hobby overhead. We finished the four day bird tour at Lade where the regular Cuckoos and Little Grebes noted. Our final tally of birds was a respectable 110 species, despite the poor weather for the first three days.

Springwatch - I see Springwatch is back on our screens with the usual team (including the annoying one!) spread around the Kingdom from Strangford Loch to northern Scotland and west Norfolk. I caught up with it last night when there was a superb item on the plight of one of our rarest residents the Willow Tit. Its well worth a watch on catch-up if you missed it and superbly presented by the very able, for-one-so-young, Megan McCubbin. 

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Rye Waders

 Orlestone Forest - cool and cloudy, W3 - We spent the morning searching for woodland birds in poor weather conditions where the highlight was at least 10 singing Nightingales, mostly around the recently created habitat in Faggs Wood. Also present: Willow and Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, plus the usual range of common resident species. We checked out the area that held a singing Tree Pipit a fortnight ago of which there was no sign. Back on the Marsh we had good views of a `purring` Turtle Dove by the railway crossing and several Yellowhammers along the lanes.

                                  Turtle Dove, Kenardington crossing

                                  Turnstones and Avocet, Rye Harbour

Rye Harbour - A superb afternoon session on the Beach Reserve where we racked up 10 species of waders including 30 Sanderlings (mostly in summer plumage), 20 Dunlins (all in breeding plumage), a Red Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 26 Tundra Ringed Plovers (much smaller and darker than the nominate race), a Curlew, 12 Turnstones (in a variety of plumages) and a Ruff (in non-breeding plumage) on Ternery Pool, plus the usual breeding Avocets, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers. The tern and gull situation was very worrying with only a handful each of nesting Black-headed Gull, Common and Little Terns, presumably due to the poor weather; although we did note two Sandwich Terns and three Mediterranean Gulls. Also noted: Shelduck, Gadwall, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Little Egret, 20 Skylarks and a Wheatear. It was good to see that the new Discovery Centre and all the bird hides were open. On the way home we called in at a site on Walland Marsh where a `booming` Bittern and several Bearded Tits were noted. 

New Discovery Centre, Rye Harbour

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Raptors and waders

 Dungeness - cold, cloudy, showery, W 4 - Another shocking day of cold unseasonal weather with a nagging wind throughout making for difficult birding conditions. However, that said we rattled up a fair old variety of species for our guests starting at the point with good views of birds as diverse as Fulmar, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Peregrine and Whitethroat, plus several Wheatears on the beach opposite Jarman`s. Moving onto the bird reserve where a shower of rain downed a flock of six Sanderlings and three Dunlins in summer plumage along with eight Gadwalls and a Shoveler on Burrowes that stayed for all of ten minutes! Also noted around the circuit several Hobbies and Marsh Harriers, Little Egret, Redshanks and Lapwings, Shelducks, Bearded Tit and all the usual warblers. On ARC, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were all in song and several Common Terns alighted on the raft; I had brief flight views of the Glossy Ibis over the lake and everywhere across the site there were Swifts.

                                  Marsh Harrier and Yellow Wagtails, Scotney

This afternoon a trip to Scotney produced good views of Yellow Wagtails (including a displaying male above), Corn Bunting, Marsh Harrier and Buzzard, while a pair of Tree Sparrows were still in the nest box by the farmhouse. Also outback seven Avocets and around 100 feral geese and Mute Swans.   

Monday 24 May 2021


 Dungeness - cool and cloudy, SW 4 - This afternoon we commenced a bird tour for two of our regular guests, Clare and Peter. With reports of Manx Shearwaters on the move in the Channel a one hour sea watch from the hide delivered a trickle of Gannets, Fulmars, Common Scoters, Kittiwakes and Sandwich Terns, but the shearwaters had dried up.

                                  Hobby sitting on the main track 

Moving onto Dengemarsh where Yellow Wagtails were very much in evidence in the field by Springfield Bridge along with Skylark, Reed Bunting, Linnet and Kestrel. Around the Hayfields it was good to see two well-grown Lapwing chicks amongst the adults on Hayfield 3, plus Redshanks, Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Egrets, Sedge and Reed Warblers and an immature Hobby sat on the track by Hayfield 2 looking in poor condition, no doubt due to the frigid air temperature keeping large flying insects to a minimum. From the bridge, five Ravens over, plus Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret and hundreds of Swifts over the reed bed.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Swifts galore

 Lade  - cool, sunny, SW 4 - Having spent most of yesterday trapped on the M25 to and from a family gathering at Maple Cross it felt great to be and about across the peninsula today in the fresh, clean air of the Romney Marsh. First off a circuit of the local patch was in order with Barney in tow to blow away the cobwebs. Several Cuckoos were active across the wetlands as plenty of Swifts and House Martins hawked flying insects coming off the Willow Swamp in the cool conditions. The first Mute Swan cygnets had made it onto the water with their proud parents, along with a couple of broods of Coots. 

                                  Kestrel at nest site

                                  Beware - moth caterpillars!

At Scotney the usual assemblage of farmland birds outback included Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks, Linnets, Corn Buntings, Cuckoo, Tree Sparrow and a late Wheatear, plus Avocets, two Common Terns, Shoveler, Common Sandpiper and a 1st summer Little Gull. Also, several Marsh Harriers, Buzzards, a Kestrel, five Little Egrets, Grey Heron and masses of feral geese, with more of the latter on the front fields. The range road delivered good views of breeding Kestrel and Buzzard at the watch tower (but no sign of the Little Owl) and a Hobby at Galloways; where the latest `nanny state` signage referring to the `hazards of Brown-tailed Moth caterpillars` caused mild amusement, particularly as there weren`t any nearby (my favourite nanny sign is the one at the end of the Britannia boardwalk at Dungeness that warns of `deep water ahead` - argh, its the English Channel, what do you expect!). Moving onto Dengemarsh and a check of the flood produced more breeding Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings along with Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Bunting and two Hobbies. Hayfield 3 held several pairs of nesting Redshanks and Lapwings, where a Crow nabbed a Lapwing chick despite being furiously mobbed by the waders. Hayfields 1/2 attracted a couple more Lapwings, Redshanks and Shelducks, a pair of Gadwall, many feral geese and three more morose looking Hobbies sitting out the chill on fence posts. At ARC the Glossy Ibis was loitering amongst the Black-headed Gull colony and hundreds more House Martins and Swifts swirled over the lake; early afternoon and JY count 1,150 Swifts over the car park in an hour, plus six Hobbies. Burrowes was quiet again, unless you like breeding Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls! On the way out two Hobbies flew through and a Great White Egret dropped into the fields at Boulderwall. We finished the day where we started back at Lade overlooking north lake where the Swifts continued to come and go.

                                  Hayfield Hobby

Friday 21 May 2021

Manx Shearwaters

 Dungeness - mild, sunny, gale force SW - The widely forecast low pressure system off the Atlantic delivered strong to gale-force winds overnight, along with rain and hail rattling the windows around the cottage and causing the chimneys to make a ghostly sound similar to the playing of pan-pipes! The wind continued throughout the day whipping up the Channel into a foaming mass of white horses and spume and shaking the seawatch hide during my two hour sit from 1000 -1200 hrs. An irregular trickle of mainly westbound seabirds made light of the sea state, comprising mostly Gannets along with a few Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Sandwich Terns and auks, plus 40 Common Scoters east. The highlight of the watch, also heading west, was a Great Northern Diver and 16 Manx Shearwaters, two of which passed inside the cardinal buoy. Many more Manxies were recorded before I arrived: full details of which will appear on the Trektellen website (per MC).   

Thursday 20 May 2021


 Lade - cool and cloudy, SW 4 - I`ve spent a fair bit of time these past two days trying to establish how many Cuckoos are on site and I reckon there could be as many as three males and at least a couple of females. The habitat hereabouts is perfect for them with plenty of mature willow scrub for cover, loads of moth caterpillars (mostly Brown-tailed larva in `tents`) in the swamp and on the dry scrub outback to feed on and an abundance of Dunnocks, Reed Warblers and Whitethroats as their main host species. Cuckoos range right across the site, particularly the males, calling frantically from either the seclusion of tree cover to out in the open on overhead power cables; in the calm of yesterday morning I even heard one from the cottage at 6am. On arrival the males emit the classic `cuck-oo` song, and then once they`ve become established introduce the `gwok-gwok-gwok` laughing note into their vocal repertoire. The females are far more furtive as they go about their parasitic business but do make a delightful bubbling call. I always make the most of `my` Cuckoos as they don`t stay for long and by July the adults will be off back to their main haunt in Africa, hopefully leaving a few of their progeny behind to follow in the autumn.

                                  Cuckoo on a wire

Over the lakes, in the cool air and showers, countless hirundines and Swifts have moved through, which today included predominantly House Martins. A Hobby and a Marsh Harrier were noted behind north lake this afternoon as the wind began to pick up; tomorrow looks like gale force winds coming off the Atlantic. Could be good for Manxies at the point...

                                  Storm clouds gathering over Lade

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Red-rumped Swallow

 Dungeness - cool, sunny, cloudy later, W 2 - Spent today guiding across the peninsula for two guests from Whitstable during which time we clocked up 71 species of birds. We kicked off in good weather at the point where all the usual suspects were eventually located such as Wheatear, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Whitethroat. The Peregrine pair put on a fine display around the power station and a few common seabirds and a Mediterranean Gull were logged at the Patch.

                                  Singing Whitethroat

The afternoon was spent on the bird reserve where the highlights were two Bar-tailed Godwits on Burrowes, Great White Egret on the Boulderwall fields, a Glossy Ibis on ARC, a `reeling` Grasshopper Warbler by Scott lookout, a `booming` Bittern and Marsh Harriers at Hookers, Redshanks and Lapwing on the hayfields and at least a dozen Hobbies across the site. The islands and rafts on Burrowes are currently occupied by Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls resulting in an absence of Common Terns. Despite the recent lifting of indoor Covid restrictions elsewhere the hides remain firmly closed off due to a combination of nesting birds and an inability to make them safe.

                                  Hobby and Lesser Black-backed Gull

A phone call from local Lade birder Gary Johnson late this afternoon alerted me to a Red-rumped Swallow he`d just found on north lake amongst a large mixed gathering of hirundines and Swifts. I was soon on site for brief views from the causeway of what was my fourth Lade red-rumper in 15 years. Thanks Gary. Unfortunately, it didn`t stay for long and must`ve moved through with the rest of the birds that kept coming and going on the edge of rain showers.  

Monday 17 May 2021

Melodious Warbler

Lade - cool and showery, W2 - The unsettled weather continues with prolonged and heavy thunderstorms throughout the day, particularly this afternoon. Around the lakes this morning at least two very vocal Cuckoos were intent on attracting a female that flew over the Willow Swamp, while more rain-dodging Swifts came and went in the cool conditions along with a few Swallows.

  This afternoon I paid a visit to the northern end of the Trapping Area to look for a Melodious Warbler found earlier by DW. With the rain hammering down all was silent until the sun briefly broke through encouraging the `hippo` into its typical hurried, babbling song, delivered at head height from sallows by a sycamore. It then sang near continuously for about an hour during which time I caught frustratingly brief and obscured views of it moving between singing perches. Around and about Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Cetti`s Warbler were also in song. 

Sunday 16 May 2021

Spring lament

 Lade - cool, sunshine and showers, SW 4 - Apart from a walk around the Trapping Area yesterday morning (which was dead by the way) the rest of the weekend`s birding has been spent on the local patch. Swifts have been coming and going over the lakes throughout and I could happily watch them all day long, which is a good job as there has been precious little else of note on the migration front lately apart from a few laggard Whimbrels roosting on the shingle on Friday evening. It is to be expected though, and as we pass the middle of May bird migration is steadily grinding to a halt, although there is always the chance of a southern over shoot to come, even into early June. Singles of Black Kite, Red-rumped Swallow, Purple Heron, Cattle Egret and Honey Buzzard have already passed through the Dungeness peninsula this spring, but as is often the case here they don`t tarry for long, and we surely must be due a Bee-eater or Black-winged Stilt, or perhaps a Golden Oriole or Whiskered Tern. So, never mind the rarities, let`s have a quick look back at the bread-and butter migrants. 

                                  Wheatear, Dungeness

  Due to a pulse of warm Saharan air in February a ridiculously early Wheatear at Galloways kicked the season off in style, although a blocking high pressure system to the north throughout much of April held things up making numbers of this classic harbinger of spring generally low and in fits and starts; particularly on my local patch where only a handful were seen. A scattering of Ring Ouzels, Whinchats, Common and Black Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers were all well received as were a couple of Wood Warblers and a Grasshopper Warbler, but lets face it, compared to just 50 years ago when I started birding, the numbers of migrant passerines today is pitifully low. However, Willow and Garden Warblers moved through in better numbers than last year as did Lesser Whitethroat, while Chiffchaff and Blackcap were about average. Common Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers seemed to be abundant across the Dungeness NNR and plenty of Sand Martins were noted. Out on the Marsh a few Turtle Doves, Cuckoos, Nightingales and Yellow Wagtails appeared at traditional haunts, although the latter was poorly represented at Scotney when I visited last week.

                                  Whimbrels, Boulderwall fields

  Many hours were spent by local seawatchers logging the up-Channel passage of seabirds with the highlight being a couple of record-breaking days comprising thousands of Common and Arctic Terns with a supporting cast of hundreds of Little and Black Terns, Little Gulls and several Roseate Terns, but this was very much the exception to the rule. Duck numbers were lower than in previous years, probably due in part to persistent offshore winds, as was the Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel passage, but did include good numbers of Velvet Scoters. There was also a record one-day passage of Manx Shearwaters linked to gale force winds while the Pomarine Skua passage was about average. The staple diet of seawatching at Dungeness such as Brents, Red-throated Divers, Common Scoters and Gannets were plentiful at times, but many passed well offshore due to the northerly airflow, and with the hides closed viewing conditions were at times difficult to say the least. In summary then, like the curate`s egg, good in parts.

                                  Garden Warbler, Plovers garden

  Personally, my spring highlights were the flock of 18 Garganeys at Dengemarsh, a Black-necked Grebe and Pied Flycatchers at Lade, and best of all, a Garden Warbler singing in our garden, but then I am easily pleased! 

Thursday 13 May 2021

Rye Harbour

 Rye Harbour - cool, cloudy, showery, SW2 - Spent the morning guiding for Mark and Maria around the Beach Reserve at Rye, my first visit of the year, which was a bit of a challenge with the hides closed and a fine drizzle coming and going. The new Discovery Centre is now complete and set to open fully in the near future, and most splendid it looks too. However, birdwise it was very quiet with no Sandwich Terns and Mediterranean Gulls breeding, just a few Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns, and four pairs of Little Terns. Avocets were plentiful though along with breeding Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers, but only two Redshanks and one Little Ringed Plover. As for passage waders the highlight was a flock of 23 Tundra Ringed Plovers, six Red Knots, four Turnstones, around 100 Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper. Studying the Dunlins it was astonishing to note the huge variations in size, bill length and plumage amongst potentially three races. Other birds noted around the circuit included a Brent Goose, 30 Shelducks, four Little Egrets and a Wheatear. A brief seawatch produced two Red-throated Divers, 10 Gannets and seven Common Scoters. 

                                  Little Terns and Avocet, Flat Beach

The afternoon was spent at Castle Water where a pair of Marsh Harriers were active around the reedbed, plus vocalising Bittern and Bearded Tit along with Cuckoo, Reed, Sedge and Cetti`s Warblers. Also noted plenty of Swifts and hirundines, several Little Egrets and Gadwalls, a Pochard, Kestrel, Hobby, Long-tailed Tit and six Whimbrel in a sheep fold. We eventually tallied a respectable 111 species over the three days birding at Dungeness, Orlestone Forest and Rye Harbour. 

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Painted Ladies

 Lade - cool, dry and sunny, SW 2 - A gorgeous spring morning to be out and about around the local patch where two Common Sandpipers flying around the margins of south lake were new in, calling frantically on bowed wings and habitually bobbing when landing. Yet again the ponds were alive with warbler song as Reed, Sedge and Cetti`s Warblers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats progressed through their various breeding cycles. From the willow swamp Cuckoo, Blackcap and Chiffchaff song also added to the early morning chorus as a party of 30 Swifts and 20 Swallows hawked flying insects rising off the canopy. An afternoon visit taking in the Kerton Road pit and the Desert across to Mockmill yielded little extra apart from three Whimbrels and eight Curlews. The only other news today concerned a Purple Heron flushed from Long Pits that was seen to fly over towards the reserve (per MC, OL).

                                  Garden Ladies

As the sun warmed up the garden Painted Lady butterflies moved in to feed on the wall flowers and bask in the suntraps following their long journey from the south, some of them looking worn and worse for wear. A large influx of migrant Painted Ladies has been reported across southern coastal counties these past few days moving up through the continent from their breeding grounds in North Africa, and a most welcome sight they are too. 

Tuesday 11 May 2021


 Orelestone Forest - warm, dry and sunny, light airs - Spent the morning guiding for Mark and Maria where at least ten Nightingales were in song across the woodland complex; actually seeing them was another matter of course, and we only had one brief flight view, but the sound of these supreme songsters was as evocative as ever in this old wildwood. Other summer migrants present included three `purring`  Turtle Doves, a calling Cuckoo, Willow and Garden Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher and perhaps most surprising of all a Tree Pipit on territory. Resident species were thin on the ground with a `hooting` Tawny Owl of note amongst the usual woodland birds. Butterflies included Orange Tip, Peacock, Brimstone, Red Admiral and Painted Lady. Down on the Marsh between Warehorne and Kenardington another Turtle Dove and Nightingale heard, plus Bullfinch, Yellowhammers and at least four soaring Buzzards.

                                  Orange Tip

                                  Tree Sparrow, Scotney

                                   Black Redstarts, Dungeness

Moving onto Scotney where a nesting Tree Sparrow by the farmhouse was another surprise. Outback while we noted Skylarks, Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings they were few in number; also, four Avocets, several Little Egrets and a couple of Common Terns, while the front fields and lakes were largely deserted. Another visit to the point delivered better views of a pair of Black Redstarts along with Wheatear, Stonechat and Peregrine. We finished the day at Lade checking the beach waders where just a few Curlews and Oystercatchers remained and four Ringed Plovers. On south lake a party of 30 Swifts dropped in, a Cuckoo called by the `wall mirror` and six Whimbrels flew over the Desert whistling.

Monday 10 May 2021


 Dungeness - warm, dry and sunny, SW 4 - Spent the day guiding for Mark and Maria from the West Midlands, my first outing since the easing of lockdown. We kicked off with a one hour seawatch from the Patch hide where plenty of Gannets, Sandwich and Common Terns were feeding offshore while a few Common Scoters and four Brent Geese moved up-Channel. The breeding Peregrines were active around A station where we watched the male dispatch a freshly caught feral pigeon. All the usual suspects were noted near the old lighthouse including Wheatears, Black Redstart, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet and Whitethroat. 

                                 Early Purple Orchid and Painted Lady, Dungeness

  Moving onto the bird reserve where at Cook`s pool two Whimbrels, Great White and Little Egrets and the usual warblers were noted. The first of at least ten Hobbies seen throughout the afternoon hawked St Mark`s flies over the water along with a couple sat on the grass taking a breather. Around the circular trail more Hobbies and scrub warblers noted including several Lesser Whitethroats. On the hayfields two Greenshanks, four Redshanks, a pair each of Gadwall and Shoveler, ten Shelducks, various feral geese and a very brief Golden Plover in near breeding plumage. From the ramp `pinging` Bearded Tits, Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo and Kingfisher. Over the road on ARC we located the long-staying Glossy Ibis at the south end of the lake, nesting Black-headed Gulls, a calling Green Woodpecker, 100 Swifts and all three species of hirundines. Also seen today, and part of a widespread influx that seemed to commence yesterday, several Painted Lady butterflies.  

Sunday 9 May 2021

Spotted Flycatcher

 Lade  - A weekend of wet and windy weather on Saturday morning followed by warmer conditions once the front went through in the afternoon and more thunderstorms early and late today. A couple of seawatches at Dungeness delivered several Arctic and Great Skuas amongst the usual flow of Gannets, Common Scoters and Common Terns yesterday, plus a Mediterranean Gull within the settled terns and gulls on the beach in front of the Patch.

                                 Common Terns and Med Gull, the Patch

The local patch continues to produce a better than average showing of Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats around the ponds than in recent years, along with our first and untypically elusive Spotted Flycatcher of spring. Otherwise it was a fairly predictable run of migrants across the peninsula today with the Glossy Ibis still on the reserve and at least three Poms through this morning, plus two Great Northern Divers (RW). 

                                  Spotted Flycatcher, Lade ponds (by Dave Scott)

                                 Gathering storm clouds over the Desert

Friday 7 May 2021

Warblers, chats and flycatchers

 Dungeness - cool, cloudy, NW 3 - An early morning circuit around the point delivered a decent scattering of established breeders including Wheatear, Whitethroat, Stonechat, Black Redstart and Meadow Pipit all in song. An odd piece of behaviour meriting a mention came from two Black Redstarts cavorting about atop one of the highest pylon `arms`, something I`d not seen before at such a height, their `distress` may have been due to a male Peregrine sat atop an adjacent pylon. The Trapping Area harboured plenty of song from Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps, plus several Willow and Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats, and two Redpolls over calling. Out of the chill wind in the sun traps three Grizzled Skippers basked in the warming rays. A couple of visits to the north end of the Long Pits revealed brief bursts of song from a Wood Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler (both scarce passage migrants here) while Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and Redstart were also reported in the general area today. From the access road to the visitor centre five distant Whimbrels were on the Boulderwall fields and a Hobby flew over Cook`s pool. Burrowes was quiet with most of the prime nesting islands and rafts already occupied by Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gulls.

                                  Grizzled Skipper, Trapping Area

                                 Wheatear, Dungeness

                                  Tern raft, Long Pits

On the local patch DS found a Pied Flycatcher first thing by the ponds, this time a smart male which he managed to photograph. It became far more retiring as the day wore on and I only had fleeting glimpses of it in cover as the wind picked up this afternoon. More Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats had also dropped in here and my first Hobby of the spring at Lade flew behind the wall `mirror` this afternoon. Many thanks to Dave for providing the superb pics below.

                                  Pied Flycatcher, Lade ponds (by Dave Scott)

                                Lesser Whitethroat, Lade ponds (by Dave Scott)

                                  Willow Warbler, Lade ponds (by Dave Scott)