Sunday 13 March 2022

Sandwich Terns

 Dungeness - mild, overcast, showery, S3 - Had a bit of a run around the area today kicking off at Lade before the hoards arrived for the Mirror Open Day, although a singing Chiffchaff and Greenfinch by the ponds and three Goldeneyes on north lake was about it. Dengemarsh Gully was virtually birdless apart from a couple of Stonechats and Meadow Pipits. On the bird reserve the hayfields held the usual Teal and Lapwings and briefly six Ruff on No 1. From the hide the Black-necked Grebe eventually emerged from beneath the water on the lake alongside a Goldeneye, which is a bit unusual here. Birds on the field opposite included 50 Wigeon, 10 Shelducks, Lapwings, two Ruffs, two White Wagtails, a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier over, while the Bittern `boomed` twice from the reedbed by the pump. Moving onto Scotney front fields where more Wigeon and Lapwings were present, plus six Ringed Plovers and two Curlews, and at Cockles Bridge for the six Cattle Egrets. An hour from the seawatch hide (1330 - 1430hrs) produced 20 Gannets, 20 Brents in a single flock and a stunning pair of Eider Ducks, while a cracking Black Redstart was flitting around the shacks near the old experimental station. I finished the day scanning the bay from the Littlestone Green shelter where it was good to see and hear a flock of 75 Sandwich Terns on the sands, plus 600 Oystercatchers and 200 Curlews. All in all, considering the weather, a pretty decent days birding.

                                  Black Redstart. Dungeness

                                  Sandwich Terns, Littlestone beach

NB: Across the weekend the first Wheatears of spring were reported: at Scotney yesterday (MC) and  Penn Bars today (DG);

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