Dengemarsh - warm, dry and sunny, NW 4 - We did a circular walk this morning around Dengemarsh taking in the farmland tracts adjacent to Manor Farm and the western side of the bird reserve. A blustery north wind made for difficult viewing with most of the common warblers singing from deep cover; however, two Corn Buntings, several Yellow Wagtails and Skylarks were seen on the arable lands. On the wetlands Greylag Geese families were everywhere along with a few pairs of Egyptian and Canada Geese, also with goslings. A Bittern `boomed` at Hookers reedbed while several Swifts and two Hobbies hawked flying insects on high. Otherwise it was the regulation waders and wildfowl on the hayfields, plus Marsh Harriers, Little Egrets and the like along the way.
Last Friday, which was cool and wet, we paid a visit to Lade where once again I failed to see or hear a Cuckoo, but did connect with three Common Sandpipers, my first of the spring, with another on Burrowes. Over the weekend we walked the farmland around NR where nothing much has changed apart from a few more Reed Warbler territories taking up.
Spring Roundup - Its my 18th year living down here on the Marsh (in the words of Sandy Denny - `Where does the time go`) and without doubt this spring has been the poorest for migration for both numbers and variety (still haven`t seen - LRP, Wood Sand, Black Tern, Little Gull, Tree Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Redstart or Spotted Flycatcher). We`ve almost come to expect a lack of summer passerines on the land, and it has been woeful, but normally the sea saves the season. Not so this year though with wildfowl, divers, waders, auks, Gannets, gulls, skuas all low in numbers and in particular, a shocking shortage/absence of terns. Whether it`s to do with the effects of bird flu, the weather or an accelerated erosion of numbers due to climate change I know not; true, it`s only mid-May and there is still time for some migrants to arrive, we shall see... On the rarity front we`ve had an early influx of Alpine Swifts and Serins, a Night Heron, several Black-winged Stilts and a Short-toed Treecreeper to keep the twitchers happy; but I`d like think that there is still time for the likes of an over-shooting Bee-eater, Black Kite or Purple Heron to come or perhaps a tasty wader, if the water levels on the bird reserve ever recede.