Friday 15 September 2023

A thousand Oystercatchers

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, SE2 - A stunning autumnal day of weather, but once again poor for passage migrants; infact, 10 Chiffchaffs, 20 hirundines, 10 Meadow Pipits, five Stonechats and a Wheatear was about it.  Two Great White Egrets were of interest continually flying over the site as though they were pair-bonding; surely they must breed locally soon. There was no sign of the Black-necked Grebe on south lake, where a lone Common Sandpiper briefly settled on the shingle island, and duck numbers were low. As the tide came in on the bay 35 Curlews flew to roost on the Desert. The Oystercatchers roosted at Kerton Road quarry where a rough count totalled at least 1,000 birds, plus several Sandwich Terns, 100 mixed gulls and a Black-tailed Godwit. On the shingle scrub a flock of 20 Linnets, 10 Meadow Pipits and three Stonechats were present.

                                  Wheatear, Lade

                                 Oystercatcher roost, Kerton Road quarry

With the harvest now almost complete the fields around New Romney have been turned over to the plough and drill which has attracted large numbers of highly mobile gulls, pigeons and corvids. Mediterranean Gulls are easily the most numerous of their tribe with several hundreds on the arable lands and loafing on the turf fields. A few more Sparrowhawks and Common Buzzards have been noted along with a several parties of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits over, plus singles of Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper yesterday morning. A couple of visits to the fishing boats at Dungeness this week produced nothing more than small groups of passing Sandwich Terns and Gannets, outbound Swallows, Guillemots on the water and Porpoises and Grey Seals.   

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