Romney Salts - mild, cloudy, w 2 - After a day in London yesterday (Book of Morman - highly recommended!) a decent walk out from home was in order this morning to clear the airways. We set off down Church Lane in very pleasant winter weather conditions where the first of five different Common Buzzards was noted perched in a dead elm overlooking the ditch by the doctors surgery. There`s nearly always a few Moorhens puttering about in the muddy, litter-strewn margins, but not this morning, and its a fair bet that old buteo had either nabbed one or was still on the lookout for an easy meal. Further down the lane by the council dump the fenced off and flooded industrial development attracted a flock of around 100 gulls, mostly Common, Herring and Black-headed, plus a lone Mediterranean Gull and two Meadow Pipits feeding on a weedy hillock. On the Salts the fetid dung heap lured 15 Pied Wagtails to flying insects emerging from the gloop, while the adjacent rough ground held the regulation trio of Tree Sparrows, several Chaffinches, a pair of Stonechats and a few Blackbirds. Nearby stubble fields harboured a scattering of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings, corvids and two Snipes. At least 15 Corn Buntings sat atop a bare elder down the main track to Lade north.
We then went through the wood to Dunes Road, where a single Fieldfare was about the only passerine noted, apart from a gang of 50 or more House Sparrows. Greatstone beach was mercifully quiet, and on a falling tide 285 Curlews and 155 Oystercatchers were counted alongside a few Turnstones, Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers and Redshanks. On the walk home a pair of soaring Buzzards over Romney Salts set the Jackdaws and Rooks into a lather. A tidy five mile walk then that produced of variety of birds and few people, just the job. The only thing missing was a canine companion...but not for much longer I hope!
Reported elsewhere across the Marsh today were 10 Ruffs, two Glossy Ibises and seven Cattle Egrets across Dengemarsh, a redhead Smew amongst the diving ducks on ARC, Bewick`s and Whooper Swans on Walland Marsh (RW, JY et al).