Cold, grey, W 2 - The largely settled, dry weather this past month with hardly any wind to speak of has been reflected in the few changes to the variety of wintering species on offer across the Dungeness area. Yesterday I checked out Lade and Scotney where a Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper and two Tree Sparrows were the only additions at the latter site since my last visit; although the front fields still remain busy with hundreds of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Wigeons and feral geese (CT reported 54 White-fronts out back this morning).
Another trawl across Dungeness today, starting at the point, produced the usual Gannets, Kitts, Red-throats and auks offshore, while it was good to see some passerine activity around the sewage plant, including several each of Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail, plus singles of Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail and Black Redstart, and a pair of Kestrels on `A` Station. More Chaffinches, tits and a Greenfinch were in the old lighthouse garden. On Burrowes pit at least 12 Goldeneyes and six Pintails were amongst hundreds of wildfowl with six more Goldeneyes on ARC, although there was no sign of the Smew from last week. The Cattle Egrets continue to stalk the paddocks around Cockles Bridge, while 38 Bewick`s Swans were in their favoured flooded field at the back of Lydd opposite the junction with Dennes and Caldecote Lanes; a few more Bewick`s, along with five Whoopers were also reported from Midley today. However, the most obvious birds across Dungeness this winter are Cormorants; thousands of them, either fishing offshore in huge rafts or loafing on the RSPB islands digesting their catch, you just can`t avoid them. Love `em or loath `em they certainly provide a spectacle from late afternoon, flying in from around the coast to roost on the bird reserve lakes, along with the Starling murmurations heading for the Dengemarsh reedbeds.