Lade - warm, dry and cloudy, NE 3 - A much fresher feel to the weather this morning as a north-easterly airflow cleared away the sweaty-arm-pit heat wave of the past week. We ranged across the Desert searching for chats of which there was not a single one, so had to be content with a few hirundines, Meadow Pipits and Yellow Wagtails overhead, plus a small flock of Linnets feeding on viper`s bugloss seed. Approaching south lake the small shingle island close to shore held six Shovelers and four Teal that soon took flight, only to be replaced by a Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover; if only there were a few more such islands on Lade to lure down passing waders... However, a thorough check of the lake confirmed that there had been a clear-out of wildfowl now that the surface pond weed had died back, although plenty of Great Crested and Little Grebes remained with their young and ten Little and two Great White Egrets were present around the margins. The bushes along the main track and by the ponds were devoid of warblers, delivering just a few tits and Chaffinches, while a Sparrowhawk whipped over the willow swamp. Scanning from the causeway end of north lake the Herring Gulls alerted me to a raptor soaring over the caravan park that turned out to be an Osprey, my first here this year. It then swept over the lake towards Littlestone and out of view with the bully-boys in hot pursuit. I spent the next half an hour sweeping the skies from the bridge, but there was no further sign of it.
The garden moth trap has been busy this past week due to the balmy nights with ludicrous numbers of Box-tree Moths; on Sunday morning I counted 110! A few of Delicate, Light Emerald, Chinese Character, Old Lady, L-album Wainscot have come to light, plus last night a Clancy`s Rustic.
Since my last post we`ve been slogging around the local farmland without much success apart from noting a few common warblers, hirundines, Yellow Wagtails over and Goldfinch flocks. The beach in front of the golf links at Littlestone on the ebb tide has yielded a few Knots, Grey Plovers and Bar-tailed Godwits, Mediterranean Gulls and Sandwich Terns, plus several Wheatears along the sea wall. A visit to Galloways on Monday morning in misty, humid conditions was particularly disappointing with a couple of Whinchats and Common Whitethroats about the only birds of note - thankfully, the blackberrying was more rewarding! Nothing much has change around the bird reserve with Hanson hide on the ARC the go-to place for passage waders, egrets and ibises. While the seawatching has been generally quiet, MC logged a stunning juvenile Long-tailed Skua off the fishing boats yesterday; checkout Martin`s blog for some top class images: www.ploddingbirder.blogspot.com